A Talent Shortage in the Job Market? Believe It.

I read a great post the other day from J.T. O’Donnell, CEO of CAREERREALISM Media (#bigideas2014.) Ms. O’Donnell sees an upcoming talent shortage in our country, as incoming Millennials entering the workforce don’t keep pace with retiring Boomers.

marketHer article touches on an interesting issue. Yes, we remain in a sluggish economy. And yes, desirable jobs remain in shortage. But employment statistics only tell part of the story.  Why is it, as O’Donnell notes, that a “war for top talent” remains?

In part, because existing skills in the job market don’t match employer needs.  Trend analyses such as O’Donnell’s zoom in on a growing phenomenon – the skills and experience that retiring Boomers will take with them aren’t easily replaced.

And while we think of computer technology as the wave of the future for employment, hiring needs paint a broader picture — beyond “cutting edge” jobs such as software development and computer apps.  There’s also an ongoing need for industry-specific skills across the board.

Here are a few, according to a 2014 survey by ManpowerGroup:



1 | Skilled Trade Workers

2 | Engineers

3 | Sales Representatives

4 | Technicians

5 | Accounting & Finance Staff

6 | Management/Executives

7 | IT Staff

8 | Drivers

9 | Secretaries, PAs, Administrative Assistants & Office Support Staff

10 | Laborers

It makes good sense, then, to keep in mind the proven talents and track records of younger Boomers and Generation Xers. Many are in their late 40s to mid-50s, looking to transition to a second career, or rediscover a dormant one. They bring invaluable resources to employers, and they’re sorely overlooked and undervalued. More than ever before, it’s time to take a new look at this group.


Fran Trelease is founder of Boomer Den, LLC, a qualified service matching profit and non-profit industries with experienced interns ages 45+.  www.boomerden.com, fran@boomerden.com


Observation Status

Guest Blog by Frances Trelease

I'll be here all the time

Good news for seniors requiring hospital stays: Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy signed into law an “observation status” bill, HB 5535, that requires hospitals to tell patients whether their stay is classified as “observation status” or as traditional inpatient.

This distinction is important. The legislation, which takes effect October 1, 2014 and is supported by AARP-CT, empowers patients by making them aware of those hospital health care costs that will be passed on to them, and those that will be covered by Medicare. Patients admitted under “observation status” face lower Medicare reimbursements, and therefore higher out-of-pocket costs.  Any senior using traditional fee-for-service Medicare is affected by this classification.   

Deb Migneault, senior policy analyst for Connecticut’s Legislative Commission on Aging, says that under Medicare benefit rules, patients on observation status are considered “outpatient” and do not have access to the same Medicare benefits as someone considered “inpatient.”

And without proper notification, many patients are unpleasantly surprised by high out-of-pocket fees that they thought would be covered.  Additionally, patients discharged to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation, will not have their care covered if they have not met a 3-day inpatient hospital stay requirement. This patient, too, gets stuck with the bill for that nursing care.

The Medicare “observation status” classification was created under the George W. Bush administration, as a way to curb rising health care costs by auditing hospitals for possible overpayments or improper admissions; hospitals found in violation are required to return all Medicare payments received.

But confusion has resulted, because in many hospitals, medical services provided under either status — inpatient or observation — are virtually identical.  Examples of identical, but non-covered services may include: doctor visits, testing, and routine prescriptions for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

According to Toby Edelman of the Center for Medicare Advocacy [3], hospitals receive lower reimbursements for observation status patients. “But at least hospitals know they’ll get something,” he said.

He cites federal data showing a dramatic rise in Medicare patients classified as observation patients — from 920,000 in 2006 to 1.4 million nationally in 2011.  Kaiser Health News also reports a 69 percent increase in five years.

Seeing the need for reform, the Connecticut AARP testified in support of the bill, along with Medicare advocates and senior advocacy groups.

AARP-CT now urges families to ask their doctors about admission status, although some physicians may also be unaware.   “Get your doctor to go to bat for you,” said Edelman.

Additional resources: The Center for Medicare Advocacy has a self-help packet [4] on its website that explains the observation-status issue in detail.

Frances Trelease is a professional business writer, helping small and mid-size businesses communicate key messages to their audiences. www.treleasecommunications.net [5].

Article printed from AARP States 

URL to article 

Midlife Internship — Recapture The One That Got Away.

A midlife internship can be a chance to try something completely new after years spent climbing a corporate ladder.

Says Mark Oldman, founder and president of Vault Inc., a New York-based career information company, and an author of “The Internship Bible” (Princeton Review, $25), “It’s the vocational equivalent of looking up a long-lost love…. People can pursue a long-forgotten dream job.”

Read more here

midlife internship

Let Boomer Den help you navigate the world of midlife internships. Contact us


Organ Donation Month

Readers: Please read this excerpted article from MetroUs, about the critical need for donated  organs to save the lives of our friends in need. On a personal note, I am advocating for a close friend in  need of a healthy kidney, as he battles Type 1 Diabetes and ongoing dialysis. 

New York struggles to keep pace with the demand for organ donations

organ donation month

Sixteen years ago, Ira Copperman didn’t know much about organ and tissue donations.

It wasn’t his wife was told her kidney was failing that the pair of them were immersed in the state’s ongoing struggle to find enough New Yorkers willing to donate vital organs upon their passing so that others might be able to live.

And the numbers for New York City aren’t any better.

By 1998, Copperman’s wife was in need of a new kidney and pancreas due to complications from preexisting diabetes. The Upper West Side couple immediately dove into the rigors of the care that she needed while they waited for a donor, eventually joining the Transplant Support Organization that operates in Westchester.

“We managed,” Copperman, 69, said of the wait for his wife’s treatment. “We both wore beepers — we would wake up in the middle of the night to take blood tests.”

It took 14 months before doctors at Weill-Cornell Medical Center were able to find a match for his wife, now 68 years old and still in good health. Copperman is now co-president of the support organization, and the couple actively works with the group to bring in new registrants into the donor database.

Generally speaking, registration isn’t necessary for a person to donate their remains for those in need, but it does serve as a legal declaration of what the deceased’s final wishes were, Dr. Lloyd Ratner, a surgical director at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital explained.

Today, more than 10,500 New Yorkers statewide are waiting for organ and tissue donations — almost one tenth of the national wait list. The New York Alliance for Donation estimates that the state ranks about the third in need for donations nationwide.

At the same time, New York has consistently ranked at the bottom of the nation’s enrollment rate. While about 43 percent of the country’s eligible residents are enrolled to donate, only 22.8 percent of New York’s are signed up.

Ratner, also a board chairman with the New York Organ Donor Network, indicated that while the latest numbers are an improvement from two or three years ago, the disparity between need and availability is only getting worse.

“The demand keeps increasing while the number of organs stays the same,” said Ratner, who treats patients in the New York City area and parts of upstate.

The resulting stakes are real for those who wait for an available match. Ratner explained that 6 to 7 percent of patients waiting for a kidney transplant alone will die within the year.

“If you have to wait for five years, which is common in most on the programs in New York, you’re talking a 30 percent chance of being dead,” he added.

But not only are New York State’s numbers well below national averages, but four of the five counties in New York City have an even lower rate of success.

Manhattan has almost 30 percent of its 1.2 million eligible residents signed up for organ donation month — outdoing the state’s overall numbers. The outer boroughs, however, don’t fare as well.

As of late March, Staten Island only has about 15.5 percent of its eligible population enrolled, while Brooklyn boasts 13.75 percent enrollment. Meanwhile, the Bronx has 11.9 percent of its qualified population are signed up.

Queens rounds out the five boroughs as having the lowest rate of enrollment. Only 11.07 percent of the 1.7 million eligible residents are in the state registry. Across the state, only Orleans County — with its 42,800 residents sandwiched between Buffalo and Rochester — has lower enrollment numbers.

Advocates have long blamed the state’s low enrollment numbers on how difficult it is for New Yorkers to sign up with the donation registry.

Potential donors have to sift through a maze of websites and print outs in order to formally declare their intent to donate, a process might discourage some well-intentioned potential enrollees.

“The process to enroll is so cumbersome that a lot of people start and don’t finish,” said Aisha Tator, executive director for the New York Alliance for Donation.

Tator said the state is working make the registration process as painless and transparent as possible to match the New Yorkers’ expectations.

Currently, the state offers New Yorkers a handful of ways to register as donors. All but one, however, can be done electronically.

Those interested in enrolling in the registry can go the route most commonly used by the rest of the country: through the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Even so, that digital enrollment option is only available for those with either a driver’s license or identification card.

Those without a license or card can go to the DMV the old-fashioned way and sign up there, or they fill out an electronic form on the state’s Department of Health website that then has to be printed signed and mailed to Albany.

The push to boost the state’s enrollment numbers, however, have resulted in new ways for residents to register for donor status. In 2009, New York began to offer organ and tissue donor enrollment through voter registration — the only state in the country to do so.

Patients and advocates are also looking at state lawmakers to follow through on its commitment to transfer the state registry’s administration to a non-profit operation — a move that Tator said will help modernize the system.

There’s no firm dates or details yet on how the state might begin to change over operations into the proposed public-private partnership, but Tator admitted that any changes to the process are only half the equation.

“This issue does need statewide promotion,” she said. “The donation community does outreach, but we don’t have a statewide promotional campaign, and the state didn’t put that investment in yet.”

Part of putting the message to donate on people’s radar, Ratner said, convincing New Yorkers that organ and tissue donation is about more than just one life.

“We often think about what it will do to the recipient and not what it does for the deceased and their family,” he said. “I think a lot of people find solace in the fact that something good comes out of a terrible tragedy.”

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria

Follow Fran Trelease at Boomer Den

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Reimagine Your Career

As recently as last year, an AARP study found that “nearly 2 in every 3 workers had either seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace.” It’s a sobering statistic; but it doesn’t have to represent everyone’s story.

April is National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month, so what better time to reimagine your career by starting your own business? More Americans 50 and older are realizing they have more options than to “hope” they don’t get downsized as their years at a company accrue. We can carve our own paths. The time for career reinvention has come.  And while it’s not always easy, the rewards far outweigh the risks. I’m on such a path now.

I recently hit the 50-year milestone. By the time I got here, I had lived a series of career “lives” – first, a cub reporter right out of college, roaming the streets of a small town with pad and pen in hand; later, an editorial writer for a corporate magazine; following that, an account executive for a PR agency.

Somewhere in my 30s, with a master’s degree under my belt, I landed a job teaching a night class for the University of Bridgeport. That first teaching gig began what is now 15 years and counting as a college instructor, teaching courses in business, ethics and writing. But my story doesn’t end there. There was still an entrepreneurial itch waiting to be scratched.

That opportunity came to me courtesy of my students. My years of teaching adults had exposed me to wonderful stories of their search for something more in their mid-life years. They had “put in their time” working at a job to pay the bills, or raising their kids; now it was their time to explore “What’s Next?” That’s why so many of them were signing up to take classes.

But even back in school, many lacked a clear focus. How could they explore a new career without risk? Without years of time and money? An idea began to hatch. Structured internships for adults could open the door to new career choices, before – or instead of – making long term commitments. And for business owners, adult interns could supply an affordable wealth of maturity, dedication and talent.

I created Boomer Den, LLC with both parties in mind. Boomer Den matches motivated adults to businesses that will mentor them in a new field, in exchange for receiving affordable help. I’ve brought parties together in areas such as radio broadcast, interior design, and social media. The possibilities are endless.

While Boomer Den has given me a chance to scratch that entrepreneurial itch, it also allows me to guide boomer adults toward exciting new career choices, and a renewed sense of hope. To me, there’s no greater reward.

Additional Resources

To learn more about internship opportunities through Boomer Den, visit www.boomerden.com



Connecting Veterns to Business Leaders

I’d like to give a shout-out to a wonderful organization based in NYC, American Corporate Partners (ACP), that exists to help our U.S. war veterans make the transition to civilian careers.  In particular, I’d like to share information on two of their outstanding programs:

ACP Veteran Mentoring Program – (Open to post 9/11 veterans and spouses of KIA or severely wounded)

American Corporate Partners (ACP)  is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping military veterans successfully transition into a civilian career. Through a one-on-one, yearlong mentorship, ACP’s veterans work with corporate professionals in a career field of their interest to strengthen resume and interview skills, learn how to successfully network, and explore job opportunities that fit their skills and interests.

ACP has openings in its Mentoring Program for post 9/11 veterans looking to gain meaningful employment in the corporate sector. To be considered for a mentorship, visit the organization’s website at: https://acp-advisornet.org/ or write to:  info@acp-advisornet.org.

Here’s information on the second program:

ACP AdvisorNet – (Open to ANY current or former military member and their immediate family)

ACP AdvisorNet (www.ACP-AdvisorNet.org) is a free online “Quick Question Community” for U.S. Military Veterans and their immediate family members. Develop your civilian career by asking questions about career development, employment, and small business. Volunteer Advisors from a wide range of industries and companies, such as GE, IBM, and Verizon, share their business expertise and offer personalized career guidance. The Advisor + Directory gives you access to hundreds of business leaders who are available for private, in-depth conversation. You can also follow topics and Q&A threads to personalize your experience on the site.

Every time you log on to ACP AdvisorNet, your visit will be advertisement-free. Your profile information is only accessible to other community members, promoting an environment of accountability and trust. Each member’s profile details their military and/or professional background so you can connect with members that share similar interests and skills.

To create an account, visit ACP-AdvisorNet.org and start receiving career and business advice today! If you have any questions, reach ACP AdvisorNet staff at info@acp-advisornet.org.

We all take different roads toward our goal of finding meaningful, rewarding employment. New college graduates, older adults, war veterans, recently displaced or unemployed… there’s always a way back.

Business Leaders

Fran Trelease is the founder of Boomer Den LLC:  Where adults ages 45+ explore new careers through guided internships; where employers gain help and know-how at a price they can afford.  It’s risk-free, and provides invaluable hands-on training.  Contact us today!  If not now… when?

www.boomerden.com, info@boomerden.com

How to Rebound When The Unemployment Checks Stop

An estimated 1.3 million jobless Americans stopped getting federal unemployment benefits on December 28.  That’s 1.3 million people who received no extension once their 26 weeks were up.

The federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program was allowed to expire during the most recent budget agreement, signed on Capitol Hill before Congress went on its holiday break.

The end of unemployment checks pours salt into a still open wound. And the severity of this crisis varies state by state. But Connecticut residents perhaps feel the pinch more acutely than other states.  Robert Fort, marketing director for Connecticut’s Workforce Alliance, said our state has regained less than half the jobs its lost since the 2008 economic downturn, as compared to about 75 percent of jobs regained in the rest of the country.

An estimated 22,000 have been affected in the Nutmeg state, with the average Connecticut beneficiary receiving $327 per week, according to the National Employment Law Project.

The topic of reinstatement, as expected, has become a political football, with Senate Democrats pledging to work to reinstate benefits retroactively in the new year. Said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) in a recent interview, “We have to do something on [unemployment insurance]. It is not right to kick a million people off.”

Ironically, the deal was signed and approved by both parties, as a sign of at least a temporary end to partisan gridlock.  Even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged her fellow House Democrats earlier this month to “embrace the suck,” and accept the compromise budget deal as a way to move our government forward.

Yet she has also pledged to fight for benefits reinstatement in 2014, calling their expiration “simply immoral..”  So it is my hope that our two political parties can reach consensus yet again — this time on a way to keep struggling Americans afloat.

We know the pain is real for working class families scrambling to make ends meet.   Perhaps the two hardest hit groups are our young adults, ages 18 to 25 who are newly entering the work force, and our Gen X and post-World War II baby boomers. In each case, a form of age discrimination hinders their search for new employment or re-employment.

Going forward, state officials urge people to focus their efforts on finding new jobs through the state’s job placement centers, and on retraining and learning new, marketable skills.

They also encourage people to continue to file for long-term unemployment benefits, on the hopes that they will be reinstated early in the new year.  I speak for 1.3 million people when I say… The sooner, the better.

Frances J. Trelease, Founder

Frances J. Trelease, Founder


Fran Trelease is the founder of Boomer Den LLC:  Where adults ages 45+ explore new careers through guided internships; where employers gain help and know-how at a price they can afford. It’s risk-free, and provides invaluable hands-on training.  Contact us today! If not now… when?

www.boomerden.com, info@boomerden.com

Find Your Passion

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Internships as a Gateway to a New Career – The Road Less Traveled

As more professional adults seek to reinvent themselves in the workforce, they find out pretty quickly that times have changed. The paper resume, followed by a solid interview and hand shake, don’t carry the same weight they used to.

But that’s okay, because for the baby boomer generation in particular, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, as they say. For some, the answer lies in returning to school for retraining and recertification in a new field. For others, it means scouring online job boards and playing the numbers game – if enough queries are sent out, something’s bound to come back.

Granted, the first option can be time-consuming and costly. And the second… well, many describe the section option as sending resumes into a “black hole.”

But there’s a third way – one that many adults in mid-life and beyond are discovering can really take them somewhere. That option is to become an adult intern. Yes, we think of interns as newly minted college grads, discovering the world of work for the first time under the watchful eye of an older employer. But that’s only one kind.

Those of us born before the late 1960s and early 1970s are rapidly growing in number; and increasingly, life circumstances dictate the need for change. Mothers with grown children are attempting to reenter the work force in droves. Same for husbands or wives whose spouses have been laid off or downsized. In both scenarios, these job candidates may face a gap in their resumes.

Similarly, many boomers have put in their 25 or 30 years in one field, and cherish the chance to try something new, an encore career, if you will. But what employer will give them a chance without prior on-the-job experience? How to avoid that cliched “Catch 22?”

As exhibited by recent news segments on ABC News and NBC Today (see www.boomerden.com for video clips) adult internships are on the rise. They go by many names – some call them apprenticeships. Others may call them job shadowing or mentorships. They all boil down to something similar – providing an avenue for experienced, educated adults ages 45 or older to “test drive” a new field in a safe, low risk setting. For business owners, it’s a valuable chance to check out a boomer’s work ethic and aptitude.  Full or part-time job offers often follow these temporary stints.

There are drawbacks, too. Pay is often minimal or non-existent. And along with the new skills training may come tasks that are less than glamorous. These are, after all, a chance to immerse oneself in a new field – often from the ground up, with sleeves rolled up.

If you’re interested in giving one a try, here are some ways to get started:

  1. Search for adult internships online, in the field you’d like to pursue. Sites such as www.flexjobs.com or www.indeed.com might be good starting points.
  2. Reach out directly to companies you’re interested in. Ask them if they have an adult internship program. If they don’t, inquire about having them create one.
  3. Find a qualified intermediary service that can do the legwork for you. Boomer Den, LLC prequalifies both business owners and interns, ensuring matches that are reliable and provide value to both parties. There is no cost to the intern candidate, and only a minimal fee to the business.

An estimated 23 Americans are currently unemployed or underemployed. We can do better than that. Explore adult internships as a gateway to a meaningful career.

Boomer Den LLC: Where adults explore new career passions; where employers gain help and know-how at a price they can afford. www.boomerden.com.  Join our subscriber list today!


Midcareer Rocket Fuel, Courtesy of an Internship

From the NY Times Archives: 



THE morning sun had barely crept over the horizon in this Sonoma County town, and deep in a hillside cave at the Deerfield Ranch Winery, Eric Henson was preparing to mix the biggest stew of his life.

In a giant plastic tub before him, nearly 2,000 pounds of freshly picked cabernet sauvignon grapes had been soaking in cold water overnight. From a wooden board that spanned the vat, Mr. Henson used a metal plunger, resembling a giant potato masher, to (gently) stir things up.


He groaned. He strained. And as he punched the plunger down through the grapes, veins bulged from the base of his neck.

Though he was clearly hard at work on this recent autumn morning, this wasn’t the way he made his living — instead, this was an unpaid internship. His “day” job — as sommelier at Santé, a restaurant at the nearby Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, wouldn’t begin until 5 p.m.

During a break in the action, he explained that he had taken the three-month intern gig as a way to learn more about his business and the product he sells.

“I’ve spent the last few years of my life studying wine and providing recommendations to customers,” said Mr. Henson, 35. “Finally, it hit me — other than tasting the stuff and reading about it, I didn’t really know much about the process that went into making it.”

Mr. Henson isn’t the only adult professional these days who is interested in gaining knowledge through an unpaid or low-paying internship; across the country, full-timers in other jobs are demonstrating that one can, in fact, teach older dogs new tricks.

Motivations for these career choices are all over the lot. Many of the moves are voluntary, resulting from a desire for different perspectives on a particular profession or small-risk introductions to something entirely new. Other decisions may stem from necessity — with the economy sputtering and job cuts on the rise, some workers are gaining additional work experience to diversify a résumé and to appear more marketable.

Alexandra Levit, author of “How’d You Score That Gig? A Guide to the Coolest Careers and How to Get Them” (Random House, 2008), said that whatever the reason for seeking a midcareer internship, the experience can be a career booster that energizes people for decades to come.

“Internships really are a great way to test new water and gain new skills,” said Ms. Levit, who is also president of Inspiration at Work, a career consulting firm in Chicago. “The benefit comes from immersion; doing is the best way to learn.”

Learning was exactly the objective for Lisa Tresmontan when she agreed earlier this year to take a low-paying internship with Joshua Charles Catering in San Mateo, Calif. In this position, she works nights and weekends helping Josh Feinbloom, the company’s chief executive, with everything from food preparation to event planning. Earlier this fall, Ms. Tresmontan oversaw every aspect of a customer’s wedding reception.

While the moonlighting gig is a lot of work on top of her full-time job as associate sourcing manager for the Pottery Barn, she said she wasn’t ready to take a leap into the catering business without checking it out first.

“I wanted to make sure I liked it, and I’ve actually liked it more than I thought I would,” said Ms. Tresmontan, 31. “The hope is that someday, when I’m ready, I can leave the corporate world behind me and commit full time to catering.”

The experience of a midcareer internship has already paid dividends for David Rose, a 40-year-old music lover.

Following an extensive career in business development, Mr. Rose was laid off from an employer in the software development industry in 2005 and took a 30-day unpaid internship with Yep Roc Records, a small record label in Haw River, N.C. During this time, he worked on some complex recording contracts and learned what he described as a “boatload of insider knowledge” about the industry as a whole.

Earlier this year, after a stint as the director of business development at a nearby software company, he put this knowledge to good use and started KnowTheMusicBiz.com, a service-oriented Web site for independent musicians.

“It certainly wasn’t my intention to go into that internship and turn it into a new career,” said Mr. Rose, whose new company, the Kudzu Media Group, is based in Chapel Hill, N.C. “But my time at that record label rekindled a passion for music, and helped me figure out how and where I needed to get involved.”

DESPITE these rosy tales, adult internships can have their pitfalls. Because of the responsibilities that come with age, midcareer interns may face challenges that their younger counterparts can more easily avoid.

For those who juggle internships and regular jobs, for instance, days can be long. Ms. Tresmontan said she occasionally works seven days a week. Mr. Henson, the intern at Deerfield Ranch, usually works at the winery from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., then showers and reports to the resort from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Money can be another serious issue for adult interns, especially if they have families and young children. Peg Hendershot, director of Career Vision, a career consulting firm in Glen Ellyn, Ill., said employees accustomed to earning a full-time salary and full benefits might have trouble accepting little to no pay unless they were independently wealthy or had some serious cash saved in the bank.

“If you’re going to take an unpaid or poorly paid internship you almost have to view it as taking a sabbatical or a semester of graduate school,” she said. “Eat out at restaurants less, take fewer vacations — if you’re committed to furthering your career, you simply have to sacrifice.”