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Encore Tampa Bay Combines Personal, Social Fulfillment


There's an unprecedented workforce shift taking place in our society. People nearing retirement age are redefining that stage in their lives. Rather than the old adage of retirement being freedom from work, Baby Boomers -- the 78 million people born between 1946 and 1964 -- are looking for freedom to work, in new and meaningful ways that have an impact on their lives and their communities.
 
Many are achieving this through an encore career. Commonly defined as a second or third act in life typically taking place after the age of 50, encore careers combine personal meaning, social impact and continued income.

According to research from Encore, a national grassroots movement that provides resources and support to those seeking encore careers, as many as nine million people ages 44 to 70 are in encore careers, and 31 million more are looking for them.

With Florida having the 4th-largest population of Baby Boomers in the U.S. and Tampa Bay seeing a growth in this population, the atmosphere is ripe to take advantage of this movement.
 
Enter Encore Tampa Bay. The fledgling startup aims to help local Baby Boomers find their next careers by helping them hone their skills while connecting them to organizations in need of their talents and experiences.
 
The movement, launched in January, is led by Bevan Rogel, who after 33 years of organization and leadership development decided there was something more she could do to meet her calling. Her passion is now creating pathways, programs and resources to help people over the age of 50 discover what's next for them.
 
"My encore career is starting Encore Tampa Bay,'' says Rogel.
 
Encore careers could take many forms, including assisting nonprofits or other socially focused organizations, mentoring or even starting a new business to serve a social need.
 
Rogel was recently one of 10 individuals across the nation selected to participate in the Encore Innovation Fellows Program through the national Encore organization. The program will allow her to manage the Encore Academy, which will focus on helping those over 50 who want to start a business. The Academy will be housed at the new Greenhouse in St. Petersburg, a business assistance center led by the City in partnership with the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.

Rogel's work also includes meeting with nonprofits to discuss how they can benefit from the experience and expertise of Baby Boomers.

"I'm really focused on helping boomers connect and identify their encore careers, but also on influencing community leaders and stakeholders to recognize this windfall of talent and experience that could be used in a different way,'' says Rogel.

Other offerings include working with local colleges and universities to help them identify Baby Boomers as potential students and tailor their curriculum to better meet their needs.

The support from the community has been very positive, with many partners working together toward a concerted effort.

"I'm excited to see community leaders ready to do some things differently,'' says Rogel. "I think if we help people find and discover those encore careers, they will plug right in to ways that can benefit our community.''

Megan Hendricks is a native Floridian and longtime Tampa Bay resident who loves the culture and diversity of the region. In her free time she enjoys local restaurants, thrift store shopping and spending time with her family. She earned her masters of business administration from USF Tampa. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.

Read more articles by Megan Hendricks.

Megan Hendricks is a feature writer at 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.
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