January 10, 2007


AARP, Atlantic Philanthropies, Civic Ventures Announce Support

Washington, D.C. – The Partnership for Public Service today announced Fed Experience, a new initiative designed to recruit retiring “baby boomers” to establish second or “encore careers” with the federal government. This call to service to baby boomers will explore ways to enlist retiring private, non-profit and public sector workers to help fill the gap the federal government will experience as a huge wave of retirements or “retirement tsunami.” To support this phase of the project, The Atlantic Philanthropies has committed $250,000.

“Just as record numbers will be retiring from government in the coming years, millions of welleducated boomers who want to do something meaningful will be retiring from their current jobs and looking for new professional opportunities – opportunities they can find in federal service,” said Max Stier, Partnership president. “Fed Experience is a win-win. Boomers get their second career where they can make a difference, and our government gets the talented individuals it needs to fill looming shortages.”

The Partnership lays out its case for Fed Experience in a new report: Are You Experienced? How Boomers Can Help Our Government Meet Its Talent Needs. Among the report’s key points:

  • The federal government is projected to lose more than 550,000 workers within the next five years — more than 1/3 of its permanent, full-time workforce — many of whom are government’s most experienced employees. Because of a hiring freeze in the 1990s, government will not have the “bench strength” to fill all of these vacancies internally.
  • At the “mid-career” level (GS-12 to 15), the federal government fills only 15 percent of its vacancies with external candidates, and less than half of these openings are open to applicants from outside government.
  • The number of Americans turning 55 will increase by more than nine million within the next five years. According to a recent AARP survey, 70% of boomers say they expect to continue working in their retirement years. In addition, polling finds half of all boomers age 50 to 70 want second careers that help others.

“Millions and millions of Americans are approaching the end of their midlife careers. And our research shows that many are eager for the opportunity to work for the public good,” said Civic Ventures President John Gomperts. “The federal government needs talented people. This should be a match.”

The Partnership and Civic Ventures hosted a panel discussion with AARP Group Executive Officer for Social Impact, Nancy LeaMond and two “encore career” federal employees to talk about the report and opportunities for boomers in federal service.

At this forum, Stier also announced that Atlantic Philanthropies has committed $250,000 to support the project’s initial research phase. This phase will be followed by a pilot project and large-scale implementation across the federal government. Among the report’s recommendations are:

  • Learn the facts – conduct comprehensive research. Little is known about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to hiring Americans aged 55 and older into government jobs.
  • Conduct a pilot project. Put lessons of research to the test in selected agencies to recruit private sector and nonprofit talent.
  • Make more flexible work arrangements available to meet needs of boomers. Many retiring boomers considering second careers are looking to take short-term jobs that offer flexible schedules (telecommuting, part-time and short-term).
  • Fix the federal hiring process. To attract the talent it needs the federal government must continue to work on changing its hiring practices to be faster and smarter.
  • Use available hiring flexibility. During the past few years, there has been a great deal of legislative and regulatory action to increase hiring flexibility. But this new flexibility will only show results if federal agencies use it.
  • Create networks to generate an active pipeline of experienced talent interested in government work.
  • Make sure efforts to look for external talent complement the existing workforce. These new boomers should supplement, not supplant, the existing talent pool. Accordingly, our government should increase investment in the development of the current workforce.

“We are committed to ensuring that older adults have every opportunity to contribute to society through second or “encore careers,” and we are delighted to support this important effort, which will benefit older workers, the federal government, and millions of Americans,” said Laura Robbins, Head of the US Aging Program for The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Visit for more information and a copy of the report.

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The Partnership for Public Service is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works.