Encore!Connecticut In-Person and Online
Encore!Connecticut was co-founded over 10 years ago by Dr. Dave Garvey and Linda Friedman of the UConn Department of Public Policy to assist corporate and public sector professionals in transitioning their skills and experience into opportunities in the Connecticut nonprofit sector. Over the past decade nearly 200 corporate professionals have gone through this program with nearly 80% successfully transitioning into nonprofit positions. This past Spring the class was offered on Saturdays which made it very convenient for those who are planning for their future while currently working. In fact, this semester we had the largest class to date with 30 students.
Although the class has gone through a few name changes (Encore!Fairfield County, Encore!Hartford, etc.), the benefits remain the same; students, or Encore Fellows, receive over 45 hours of training by seasoned nonprofit professionals in areas of strategic planning, community engagement, grant writing, governance, and more. Experts work one-on-one with students to help rewrite their resume to reflect the skills that are most relevant in the nonprofit arena. The Fellows then participate in mock interviews to sharpen their interviewing skills.
Every Encore!Connecticut Fellow participates in an 8-week Fellowship with a nonprofit organization where they focus on a specific project. The Fellowship can either be 30-hours per week in-person or, for working students, can be set up as an outside consulting position. This Fellowship not only offers the student a chance to “get their feet wet” but it also provides a great networking opportunity. Fellows work directly with nonprofit executives and their clients, and often, even attend board meetings.
Dr. Garvey and his co-leads, Robert Francis, Scott Wilderman, and David Nee, spend time with each Fellow to find out what their areas of interest are and assist them in focusing their job search in that direction. Through the program, students are introduced to nonprofit leaders who can offer insight and suggestions on how the Fellow can reach their employment goals.
In the past, classes have been in-person but, due to the pandemic, this year the classes and the Fellowships successfully moved online. The Spring 2021 semester will follow the same live online format, with eight virtual Saturday classes from January through April, as well as three optional seminars on Friday, a remote-distanced fellowship, and personalized consultations on resumes and interviewing. The Encore!Connecticut virtual model works so well that it is envisioned for the future; one semester a year will be virtual while the other will be offered as an in-person class. Once the program ends, participants are Encore Fellows for life. Dave is always available for support and introductions, and regularly sends out job announcements to Encore alumni.