UConn Expands Program for Careers in Nonprofit Sector

Roy Mainelli, a former aerospace industry professional and graduate of UConn's Encore!Hartford program, speaks with Alex McDade, a participant in Journey Home, a program that helps people who have experienced homelessness get jobs.
A successful Hartford-based UConn program that helps professionals transition from corporate to nonprofit management is being expanded to Fairfield County. Here, Roy Mainelli, a former aerospace industry professional and graduate of UConn's Encore!Hartford program, speaks with Alex McDade, a participant in Journey Home, a program that helps people who've experienced homelessness get jobs.

Six years after UConn launched a program to assist Hartford-area professionals transition from corporate to nonprofit management, the popular job-training program is expanding.

This fall, in concert with a number of partners, the University will offer Encore!Fairfield County, with the goal of reducing professional sector unemployment in that region of the state and increasing the capacity of local nonprofits, according to program director David Garvey, who is based in UConn’s Department of Public Policy.

Modeled after the successful Encore!Hartford, the new program is accepting applications for 25 spots through Aug. 15.

“Many seasoned corporate professionals are looking to transition their highly valued skills and experience to purposeful work in Fairfield County’s nonprofit sector,” says Garvey. “Encore!Fairfield County provides that training.”

Throughout a four-month period, the program will immerse participants in the regional nonprofit sector. More than 60 hours of education on nonprofit leadership, development, accounting, governance, and strategic management, will be held in area nonprofits. Courses will be led by UConn faculty and local nonprofit leaders, and capped by a two-month fellowship at a nonprofit.

Encore!Fairfield County will be led by Scott Wilderman, president of Fairfield County’s Career Resources Inc., one of the nation’s leading workforce development organizations, and Robert Francis, executive director of RYASAP, a nationally recognized youth and community leadership development coalition serving Greater Bridgeport.

Additional partners include Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, The WorkPlace, AARP Connecticut, the United Ways of Greenwich, Western Connecticut, and Coastal Fairfield County, and Connecticut Department of Labor.

“I am often approached by corporate professionals seeking to impact our community by bringing their skills and passion full-time to the work of nonprofits,” says Juanita James, president of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. “Proper preparation of these individuals for the dynamics and realities of work and impact in the nonprofit sector work is needed.”

As a participant of the Hartford-based program, Steve Elson transitioned from a 20-year commercial real estate career to the field of affordable housing as director of housing development for Stamford’s New Neighborhoods Inc.

“The program was essential to my successful transition to the nonprofit sector two years ago,” Elson says. “I am thrilled that the program is now being launched in Fairfield County.”

Additional stories of success from Encore! graduates:

Thanks to her Encore!Hartford training, former insurance company professional Alice Turner founded a company that uses gaming technology to engage and educate students about business, technology, and entrepreneurship, helping high school students who want to start their own businesses.

After 26 years in the insurance business, Tracie Cloutier completed the program at Encore!Hartford, and then took up a position as project director at the Connecticut Pre-Engineering Program, promoting STEM education for disadvantaged youth.

Encore!Hartford helped Roy Mainelli adapt his corporate skills and networks to create a jobs program for people who have experienced homelessness.

Mike Fournier, who worked for a national healthcare company in Hartford for more than 30 years, now works for the Girl Scouts of Connecticut, after participating in Encore!Hartford. The Girl Scouts help build courage, confidence, and character in girls so they can make the world a better place.