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Not everybody who reaches the so-called retirement age is ready to retire, but they may be ready for a change. And Intel would like some of its employees to have some help. Since 2012, the tech giant has paid some of its retirees a stipend while they try out completely new jobs at nonprofit organizations. NPR's Ina Jaffe reports on encore careers.
INA JAFFE, BYLINE: Sixty-one-year-old Gail Dockerty is poring over a spreadsheet on her computer at the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center in Oregon. The former Intel project manager is combining patient data with input from doctors and nurses. She's trying to figure out a better way of delivering care to the center's high number of patients with diabetes.
GAIL DOCKERTY: So I took that body of data. And from that out of my own non-medical, non-health care world had kind of proposed a workflow that seemed like from what I was hearing might be the most helpful thing for our patients.
JAFFE: Those patients are migrant workers and others who have no health insurance or who qualify for Medicaid. Dockerty says the skills from her old job fit in with the mission here, even though the two jobs couldn't be more different.
DOCKERTY: At Intel, deadlines are king. You've got a product. You've got to get it out either first or by the time you promised. Schedules are key. Here, not so much because what's primary is the patient care.
JAFFE: Dockerty is what's known as an Encore Fellow. She'll work at the health center part time for about a year and receive a stipend of $25,000. This is part of a nationwide program started by encore.org to bring retiring corporate workers into mission-driven organizations. You may have heard messages about it on NPR and other media outlets.
But Intel is the only company that pays the stipend for its retiree's fellowships as a basic employee benefit. In the past five years, it's meant about a thousand fellowships at a cost to the company of more than $30 million.
OGDEN REID: But in the scheme of our total labor costs, it's a very small number.
JAFFE: Says Ogden Reid, Intel's vice president for human resources.
REID: We feel like we're helping our communities. Our retirees give us really positive feedback about it. And our workforce that's here see that happening to folks who've had a long career. And I think that makes them feel good about the company.
JAFFE: Right now, there are seven Encore Fellows at the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center. Gil Munoz, the CEO, says they play a crucial role.
GIL MUNOZ: They bring a certain discipline, certain rigor to looking at problems and solving them. And having these Encore Fellows who could help lead a project can be the key to whether it's successful or not.
JAFFE: That may be why 73-year-old Jinny Meade's still here. She came to the health center a couple of years ago as an Encore Fellow. Now she's a permanent part-time employee working as a project consultant.
JINNY MEADE: I'm sort of the nag that helps them stay on track as much as possible.
JAFFE: And it's not just the management skill she can bring to Virginia Garcia that she finds rewarding, it's what she's getting back.
MEADE: It's really exciting to be part of something that's sort of bigger than ourselves. And health care for the underserved is a worthy cause.
JAFFE: And in Meade's case, a second career. Ina Jaffe, NPR News.
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