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During his lifetime, Robert Levin has been a teacher, a teacher educator, a staff developer and an education director at a museum. But when he found himself out of work at 63 years old, he wasn’t sure of his next step. A friend suggested he attend a Federation-supported employment preparation program for baby boomers. He was intrigued, but hesitant.
“I was looking for advice, moral support and networking, but I wasn’t sure what new skills I could learn,” Robert recalls. His outlook changed on the first day, when a career counselor advised him to overhaul his ‘elevator pitch’ personal introduction, and “focus and reflect on what I really wanted to do,” he says. “I had to write it out, practice and rehearse it and really think about how I could best present myself.”
Program counselors also helped Robert update his resume, refine his in-person and online networking techniques and bring his computing skills up to speed. And when he realized he wanted to start an educational consulting business, an entrepreneurial specialist gave him feedback, connected him with leads and helped him get the business off the ground.
Building these new skills in a supportive group environment helped Robert feel a sense of camaraderie with fellow job-seekers. “Most participants have been isolated looking for jobs at home on their computers,” says Lisa Futterman, who helps runs the program. “It’s helpful for baby boomers to come into a room where everyone understands their situation. They form a network. It’s very motivating.”
Robert and his peers also offered feedback on each other’s resumes and pitches, and provided one another with new contacts.
With help from Federation, Robert is ready to take his career to a new level. Re-energized with new perspectives and sharper skills, he’s working as an adjunct professor while he develops his business. “I had to put myself out there, try, draft and redraft,” he says. “But the Federation program was very productive for me, and I see the world—and myself—a little differently now.”