“Silver is Gold™ is not the place to look for a full-time job,” says Peter Benkendorf, president of the Dayton Collaboratory, the local nonprofit that, with other government and nonprofit support, developed the website exclusively for retirees looking for a flexible work schedule, like part-time or contract work.
The site is geared to professionals across 24 different industries, from acquisitions and education to real estate and technology. And that’s just a starting point, Benkendorf emphasizes. There’s room for more professionals, especially with the broad range of area talent, thanks to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base retirees. The common denominator is the goal to work a flexible, limited and, perhaps, remote schedule.
Use of the site is free for prospective hires and posting businesses. Currently more than 250 retirees have posted their talent profiles there. Phil Hartje of Kettering was one of them. After decades in non-profit management—and three retirements—last year the 69-year-old Hartje was ready for another challenge.
“I didn’t have to go back,” says Hartje. “I’m financially secure. That wasn’t the primary reason. I thought maybe I could contribute something.”
That’s the number-one reason retirees come to Silver is Gold, adds Benkendorf. Money isn’t the major motivator. Retirees hope to contribute their expertise to an organization that finds it valuable.
Gloria Hurwitz, vice president of advancement for United Church Homes, thought Hartje definitely had value. After receiving six to eight “good” talent profiles from Silver is Gold, Hurwitz hired Hartje as the project manager for their major capital campaign that will result in transforming Dayton’s Longfellow school into retirement housing for the area LBGTQA population.
“What a great opportunity to access a seasoned professional with a lot of skills,” Hurwitz says. “Phil was a great fit. He can do almost anything.”
And while he was worth more than a starting salary, Hartje would not break her budget, she says.
Now Hartje works about 20 hours a week from his home’s basement office and is in the second year of his three-year commitment to United Church Homes. He organizes and leads campaign meetings, speaks with stakeholders, sends out updates—even enters data. He organized a major golf outing/fundraiser that netted the campaign almost $25K this summer.
“I mostly work in the mornings,” he says. “I can still swim and run. And if we’re in New York (visiting grandchildren), I can still take a call and move things forward.”
Hurwitz says she would use Silver and Gold again.
“Absolutely. When you’re retired, there is a sense of comfort and confidence. You’re not trying to get some place, you’re there to add value. You’ve already learned how to be agile and flexible.”
United Church Homes had already embraced the idea of flexible, part-time employees. Silver is Gold is ready to work with businesses to help them determine how retirees on flexible schedules can help them meet their goals.
“We help businesses get down to specifics,” says Peggy West, a former human resources manager who now works with Silver is Gold. “We help them get to the specific skills they really need and what could work.”
Silver and Gold not only collaborates with potential employers on their needs prior to posting, West adds she also works with potential employees on their talent profiles, their one-page skill and experience overview, before posting.
“We help them identify their ‘superpowers,” says West, those strengths they mastered over the course of their long careers.
Here’s how to get started:
Retirees and businesses should go to silverisgold.org. Set up an account then start your talent profile or posting. There are detailed FAQs and best practices for both. West is available to assist at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-732-5123.