Using Seniors’ Skills


I read with interest Renee Septimus’ Oct. 5 opinion piece, “We’re Missing Out On Using Seniors’ Skills.” As a young retiree (63) I share her sentiment.

I recently came up with a slightly different solution. I applied for a five-hour position that was listed as “campus recruiter” for Volunteers for Israel. This is a job that had “millennial” written all over it. Instead of a typical cover letter, I wrote a mini-proposal. As a former Hillel director, I laid out what I imagine they really need to grow and develop a national program. I explained that I would offer 15 additional hours a week and bring the skills and connections required to expand the scope of the job. Not only was I hired but they added a small monthly stipend that allows me to hire a millennial to assist me!

The title was changed to national director of campus services. The title, professional credential and salary, albeit very small, establishes credibility and opens doors. It would be much more difficult to do my job as a volunteer.

I think it’s time to start a conversation through federations and other Jewish communal organizations about marketing the notion of hiring retirees who can make a deal with a prospective employer, one that’s value added for all. I couldn’t be happier working as a professional and simultaneously feeling like the philanthropists who seem very impressed with this money-saving model.

Volunteers for Israel