In March 2014, Tim Lybarger convened a small group of individuals in Chesterland, Ohio to discuss a trend he was noticing related to the displacement of older workers. Many established professionals, defined as those who have mastered certain elements of their careers through years of experience, had lost their seat in the economy and were not able to reconnect in a meaningful way – in terms of earning power or career satisfaction. In fact, many were cascading downward and finding themselves in serious financial trouble.
The trend appeared to be an outgrowth of globalization and was magnified by the 2008 recession. The closer the group looked, the more convinced it became that this phenomenon was of such size and importance that it warranted a focused and coordinated response.
Encore NEO (New Employment Options) was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in 2016 to address the needs of the “cascading professional.” Many people were already familiar with the term “Encore” through the efforts of Encore.org, a national organization whose mission is to connect mid-life and older individuals with worthy community initiatives. Encore NEO was founded to focus on helping people over age 50 create new careers that meet their financial needs and offer meaningful work.
Since its inception, Encore NEO has tested hundreds of pilot programs and has distilled what it learned into the current programming model. It provides onsite and online gathering places where Encores can meet, interact, learn, connect with resources, support each other, and craft their encore careers. Encore NEO’s long-term objective is to make this resource model available to any group that desires to address the needs of “cascading professionals” in their community.