Encore Career Institute (Encore) and UCLA Extension announced today the formation of a new, comprehensive online educational company offering professional certificates and career counseling designed specifically for baby boomers transitioning to new careers or seeking to remain viable in today’s job market.
The Sherry Lansing Foundation, which has pioneered work in late-career job training, was a motivating force behind the company. The foundation, along with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), conceptualized Encore, and together with Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Poizner they formed a partnership with online learning leader UCLA Extension to provide program content.
Encore has secured $15 million in Series A venture capital funding from two Silicon Valley–based firms, InterWest Partners and Granite Ventures, to develop the new online education company.
“Three of California’s greatest assets are the academic excellence at UCLA, the creative know-how of Silicon Valley and the marketing power of Hollywood. We have brought all three of these forces together to create a new opportunity for the millions of baby boomers who have been displaced in the workforce or are looking to make a new career move,” said Poizner, co-founder and CEO of Encore. “Our goal is to create a true end-to-end experience for students, from career guidance to innovative online courses, followed by assistance with the job-search process.”
“UCLA Extension sees this project as an important step in expanding our online offerings nationally to this very experienced and educated generation,” said Cathy Sandeen, dean of UCLA Extension. “So many baby boomers will want to continue to work past traditional retirement age, and U.S. employers will want to redeploy the talent and expertise of this demographic segment. We are delighted to be part of a new venture that supports both of these important goals.”
With high unemployment throughout California and the nation, the competitive job market has placed increased demands on candidates to update their skills. Many members of the baby boom generation — generally those born between 1946 and 1964 — are unable to retire due to financial constraints, thus increasing the need for re-education. Other boomers wish to move in a different direction, to establish an “encore” career in order to pursue a passion or to make a contribution in the education or nonprofit sectors.
A founding partner of Encore, CAA, the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency, has extensive experience in marketing and brand-building and has long been actively involved in education initiatives on the local, state and national levels through the CAA Foundation, the agency’s philanthropic arm. The agency will access its vast resources and expertise in these areas and others to market the new Encore program nationally.
“Encore was created to address the growing needs of the seasoned workforce by teaching them new skills and providing the necessary tools for re-entry into today’s job market,” said Michael Yanover, head of business development at CAA. “We look forward to working closely with our partners to access our resources and experience in marketing and education reform to build awareness for this new platform among the 77 million boomers, who are redefining the notion of retirement.”
Encore’s next-generation learning tools will leverage web development tools, social networking technology, mobile devices and new multimedia technology to improve the online classroom experience, offering boomers the opportunity to complete a comprehensive certificate program in just one year and providing them with the skills needed to pursue careers in many fields, including finance, education, health care and environmental sustainability, among others.
UCLA Extension is developing new courses and certificate programs to be offered through Encore and will also draw from those currently offered in the UCLA Extension catalog.
Development of programs and technology has commenced, with classes and services expected to begin in fall 2012.
UCLA Extension is the continuing and professional education division of the University of California at Los Angeles. UCLA Extension offers a broad spectrum of courses and certificates for professionals in business, management, engineering, information systems, entertainment studies, public policy, public health, the humanities and many other fields. UCLA Extension is a completely self-supporting enterprise, receiving no state or campus funds. Excelling in its quality, innovation and impact, UCLA Extension is considered one of the top programs of its type in the nation. UCLA Extension was one of the early adopters of online learning for continuing education, and nearly one-fourth of the 90,000 annual enrolled students are receiving their education online through Extension programs and conferences. Find out more at www.uclaextension.com.
Steve Poizner is a highly successful high-tech entrepreneur with over two decades of starting and running technology companies in Silicon Valley. Following his time in the private sector, Poizner was elected as California’s insurance commissioner. Poizner founded and served as CEO of Strategic Mapping Inc., a software company that developed a program to display geographic data on digital maps. He then founded SnapTrack Inc., which pioneered technology that put GPS receivers into cell phones.
Poizner has a deep passion for education, co-founding EdVoice, an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public schools and serving the interests of K–12 children in California. He also served as a volunteer teacher in San Jose’s Mount Pleasant High School, teaching 12th-grade American government. In 2003, Poizner co-founded the California Charter Schools Association.
Creative Artists Agency
Creative Artists Agency (CAA) is the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency, representing many of the most successful professionals working in film, television, music, video games, theatre and the Internet, and provides a range of strategic marketing and consulting services to corporate clients. Within the emerging digital media marketplace, CAA has conceptualized and incubated new businesses on behalf of the agency and its clients, including Funny or Die, which has quickly become the leading destination for comedy on the web; Whosay, a new social media service for celebrities and other influencers; and Creative Mobile Labs, which brings together the entertainment industry’s top content creators with leading application developers to create innovative applications and content franchises for mobile platforms. CAA is also a leader in sports, representing more than 650 of the world’s top athletes in football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis and golf, and works in the areas of broadcast rights, corporate marketing initiatives, licensing and sports properties for sales/sponsorship opportunities. In addition, The Intelligence Group, a market research and trend forecasting company, is a division of CAA.
Sherry Lansing Foundation
The Sherry Lansing Foundation (SLF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to cancer research, health and public education. Among the foundation’s initiatives is the EnCorps Teachers Program, founded by Lansing to retrain retirees from the technology sector to serve as California public middle and high school science and math teachers. Another SLF initiative is PrimeTime LAUSD, a partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District designed to engage retirees in improving the state of public education through targeted volunteerism. Lansing is also a founder of Stand Up To Cancer, an initiative that funds “dream teams” of multi-institutional groups of scientists who work collaboratively to develop new treatments quickly in order to save lives.
Granite Ventures has been helping early-stage technology companies build solid foundations for success since 1992. Granite has managed over $1 billion in venture capital and has invested in more than 100 private companies. They partner with promising and successful entrepreneurs to create businesses that have a competitive edge, and help those businesses achieve category leadership. More information can be found at www.granitevc.com.
For more than 30 years, InterWest has partnered with exceptional entrepreneurs to build winning technology and life sciences companies. With more than 200 years of combined operating and investing experience, the firm’s investing team has raised $2.8 billion, completed more than 70 IPOs and participated in nearly 60 upside acquisitions. As the firm invests InterWest X, a $650 million fund, the InterWest team continues to believe that providing capital is just the beginning of a long-term collaboration with entrepreneurs to turn their vision into a thriving company. More information can be found at www.interwest.com.
By UCLA Media Relations & Public Outreach
Denis Wolcott, UCLA Extension, 213-200-1563
Jarrod Agen, Encore Career Institute, 646-734-1641
Beth McClinton, Creative Artists Agency, 424-288-2000