The Encore program paired Ken Wolff, a 23-year Intel employee with Music for Minors, which provides music education programs to elementary school children in the San Francisco Bay area. At the nonprofit, Wolff, who retired from the company in June of last year, works on projects that combine his tech background and love for music. He studied early music at a European conservatory and holds a master's degree in church music.
Wolff's first project took him a year to complete, working five or six half days each week, and involved putting hundreds of music and training documents online, he wrote in an email. He continues to volunteer at Music for Minor and his current project involves shooting training lessons for teachers and posting them online.
"Most of my IT work doesn't directly apply but the basic orientation makes solving software tool challenges a lot easier," wrote Wolff, 60. His background helped when converting sheet music into digital files using high-end scoring software, he wrote. Additionally, shooting and editing video is easier with a technical background and having website development skills helps when posting material online.
Intel is using the fellowship program to understand how to discuss retirement with employees and their needs. Additionally, the program helps people who lack clear retirement plans start thinking about what they may want to do next.
"Many employees [at Intel] want to stay engaged in some manner past normal retirement, but they're looking to do that in a different way," said Writ.
Jose Alvarado planned to work part-time work as an instructor or IT professional after he left Hewlett-Packard where he worked as a senior software engineer, he said in an email.
Through the Encore program, which HP participates in, and his own efforts, Alvarado is volunteering in both those roles. Alvarado recently began volunteering for 20 hours per week at the Homeless Prenatal Project, which provides poor and homeless San Francisco families with resources to improve their lives. In September he will start teaching a data networks course at the University of the People, a nonprofit that offers free academic courses online.
In both roles, Alvarado draws on his enterprise IT career, which spanned nearly 23 years at HP. His background in data networks as a software engineer has proved useful at HPP and UofP, he wrote. HPP has a medium-size computer network and uses cloud services. "I am also learning quite a lot as a member of the HPP Technology Team. Additionally, I have used my knowledge in network security to perform vulnerability testing on HPP public internet interfaces."
His transition into volunteer work has been gratifying.
"The idea of a second act for the greater good just sounded perfect for me after leaving HP," he wrote. "I see my fellowship as both an interesting/stimulating part-time job and an excellent opportunity to help HPP's wonderful mission."