Encore!Fairfield County Strengthens Nonprofits and Our Workforce

Aug 01, 2016

Originally appeared on CT Post Blog

How do you strengthen local nonprofits, while benefitting the local workforce? Now, there’s an exciting new opportunity.

Encore!Fairfield County, a new 16-week workforce transition program hosted by the UConn Nonprofit Leadership Program, is designed to help corporate professionals tailor their skills to the nonprofit sector. The program launches in September, with applications being accepted through August 15th for the first training session.

This field-tested program expands work begun through Encore!Hartford, a successful program founded six years ago. The Encore program is designed to meet two key needs: helping local nonprofits to find talented leadership, by providing unemployed or underemployed corporate professionals with the knowledge, connections and opportunities to find a meaningful “encore career” in the nonprofit sector.

Matching needs – and turning skills into passion – through an innovative workforce transition training.

Last year, a report by Third Sector New England showed that 60% of Connecticut nonprofits are facing turnover in leadership within five years – and 54% have no clear succession plan. The Encore! program has proven that it can successfully fill this gap and help nonprofits to become stronger and more sustainable. Over the last five years, says program director David Garvey, Encore!Hartford had a 91% employment rate, with 75% of program graduates going into the nonprofit field. In that sector, the retention rate for Encore! grads is 98%.

“Encore!Hartford was essential to my successful transition to the nonprofit sector two years ago,” says Steve Elson, Director of Housing Development for Stamford’s New Neighborhoods, Inc. “I am thrilled that the program is now being launched in Fairfield County.”

While not limited by age, the program is an ideal fit for mature corporate professionals over 50 who are in search of a second career. For these professionals, finding a job after downsizing can take up to 33% longer than for younger workers. Encore!Fairfield County offers an avenue for leveraging hard-earned skills and experience into a new career that is personally meaningful, and makes a difference in the community.

With a commitment to strengthening the operations of local nonprofits, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation has partnered with The WorkPlace and AARP of Connecticut to fund Encore!Fairfield County as a proven model for attracting quality talent. The hands-on, targeted knowledge this program offers is a vital service, notes FCCF President & CEO Juanita James.

“I am often approached by corporate professionals seeking to impact our community by bringing their skills and passion full-time to the work of nonprofits,” says James. “Proper preparation of these individuals for the dynamics and realities of work and impact in the nonprofit sector work is needed.”

About Encore!Fairfield:

This intensive, four-month immersion in the nonprofit sector provides education from UConn faculty and nonprofit leaders, resumé restructuring and networking, and a hands-on fellowship at a Greater Fairfield County nonprofit.

Phase I: Nonprofit Sector Education
60+ hours of education and training in nonprofit leadership, development, accounting, governance and strategic management and best practices for running a successful nonprofit.
When: September – October 2016; classes meet twice weekly, from 9 am to 12:30 pm

Phase II: Encore!Fairfield County Fellowship
Participants will build their resume and gain hands-on experience through a fellowship at a regional nonprofit. Placement based on skills, career goals, and strategic needs of the nonprofit.
When: November – December 2016; 30 hours per week

Learn more about Encore!Fairfield County.

How to Apply:

Applications will be accepted through August 15th, 2016 for 25 open seats in the first training cohort, which begins in September. Learn more and apply for Encore!Fairfield County.

Full tuition for the program is $2,950. Some merit- and needs-based assistance is available through AARP Connecticut for unemployed or underemployed candidates. Learn more and apply for a scholarship.


As a trusted nonprofit partner and thought leader, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation brings together community organizers, business experts and philanthropists to solve our region’s challenges. Our goal is to create a vital and inclusive community, where every individual has the opportunity to thrive. Learn how you can help to strengthen the operations of local nonprofits through our Center for Nonprofit Excellence.