Looking for a retirement or second career that combines volunteering, public service and some income? The federal government is trying to help.
Baby Boomers, Retirement Careers, and the Serve America Act of 2009
ServeAmerica Fellowships are newly created by the Act to support individuals selected by State Commissions who serve with sponsors that have registered with the Commission. Fellows will receive a living allowance and, upon, successful completion of a term of service, an education award.
The Act creates a new Encore Fellowship program to allow selected individuals aged 55 or older to serve at organizations that are listed by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Encore Fellowship program is supported by $11,000 grants to the listed organization for fellowship living expenses.
For boomers and seniors looking for only a part-time commitment to a retirement career, the Act also creates Silver Scholarships that carry a $1,000 stipend for 350 hours of community service work. These scholarships are specifically designated for the over-55 group.
Senior Corps Volunteer Opportunities
The Serve America Act expands and formalizes the National Senior Service Corps which has been around for a while with three different programs but with little emphasis. The Act has this to say about the Senior Corps:
The purpose for all three Senior Corps programs is to provide opportunities for senior service to meet unmet needs, to empower people 55 years and older to contribute to their communities through service, enhancing the lives of those who serve and those whom they serve, and provide communities with valuable services.
The expanded Senior Corps is unlikely to provide income to support a second career for retirees unless you are in a leadership or administrative position.
Final Thoughts on Retirement Career Opportunities in the Serve America Act
Although I am not a fan of more government programs, I am glad that some of the new volunteer opportunity funding is being directed at baby boomers who are eager to give back to the community but need to have some income while doing so.
The real funding for these new retirement career and volunteer programs doesn’t kick-in until 2010 so the details are still to be worked out. To monitor developments and to learn how to apply, visit the Corporation for National and Community Service website.
Also, the AARP uses a section of its site to promote volunteer opportunities for boomers and seniors uner the new legislation and in other programs.
Finally, if you are really ambitous in your desire for a second career in public service, the Peace Corps is eager to accept older volunteers. You do get paid and receive free medical care. But you have to commit for 27 months and pass a physical.