Founder Linda Wiener
My affection for older adults was sparked early in my life. As a child, my family moved frequently and I often found myself the new kid on the block. More often than not my new best friend was an older adult. When I reflected on how I came to work in aging I realized that I had sub-consciously set the stage in a college writing class. I was a business major. But I wrote an essay about “the plight of the elderly.” I haven’t a clue what I said, but I recognize now that the theme was surely about making a positive difference in the lives of older adults.
My career in gerontology began formally when I went to work for AARP. For thirteen years I worked with older job seekers, and the employers that hired them. During that time not only was I directly involved in helping thousands of older job seekers re-enter the workforce, but also trained other program directors and managers, nation-wide. I also spent two years in the AARP Oregon state office where I worked extensively with older volunteers and got directly involved with other senior advocacy issues. I made a positive difference in the lives of older adults.
After fifteen years with AARP I took a career break. Within a year work involving older adults began to find me again however. Invited to become a board member I subsequently became a faculty member of the gerontology program at Portland Community College (PCC). I was integral to the development of a career management model and core career exploration courses geared towards (re)careering older students interested in working with older adults. During that time I created the Exploring Careers in Aging workbook and website as core resources.
I went onto teach those career exploration courses (online and in person) at PCC and Marylhurst University as well as to supervise student internships. I was also a key partner in the development, training and oversight of a variety of grant projects related to training folks to work with older adults, including a MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures Community College Encore Career Grant, one of ten recipients in its first award year ( Download Civic Ventures Peer Mentor ).
As a researcher I continue to identify resources and trends and incorporate them not only into both the workbook and website but also in other related media. One such project was the AARP White Paper, The Role of Community Colleges in an Aging Society. As a coach and mentor I guide career changers and support students and the instructors that guide them.
By helping to shape the view of aging I feel I am helping to change the perspective of aging itself. Please feel free to contact me if you have interest in personal coaching or would like to learn more about the workbook.
Copyright © 2005, Exploring Careers in Gerontology. All rights reserved.