Sérgio Serapião was in his thirties when he began inviting Brazilian seniors out for a cup of coffee. A decade later, Brazilians over 60 still convene the Café com Vida, or “coffee with life” in cities throughout the country. These gatherings offer seniors a public forum to re-engage in community life, while guarding against isolation by building new social networks. In getting to know his nation’s elders, Sérgio became convinced of their immense talent and readiness to contribute, despite the structural barriers. What if, he asked, we could redefine employment to open society to its senior talent? What if we could end both the sting of isolation and pinch of retirement? He founded Labora Tech to work with both employers and employees to create new models of employment. Sérgio explained his vision for a redefined longevity to Chris Cusano of Ashoka.
Chris Cusano: What surprised you most when you started working with seniors?
Sérgio Serapião: The first thing was that we did not know each other. There were people in government, in civil society, in the private sector, all thinking about the issue of seniors in society, but we weren’t connected to each other. The themes of work were much less consistent than you might find in areas like education or environment. You could say we didn’t really have a field. There was a big opportunity to create something.
I also came to understand how much of a youth-centered culture we have, and I think most places still have. We idolize youth to the point that we forget about other kinds of strengths and qualities. The ideal is the Olympic athlete—young, strong, and at peak performance, competing to dominate. And that leaves out most of us. But I believe that diversity is a source of strength and creativity in society, including age diversity.
Cusano: What was the original idea of Lab60+ and Café com Vida?
Serapião: We wanted to welcome everyone—not just seniors, but anyone with an interest. In each Café session, there are six ideas or initiatives presented by members. It could be something small and new, or something big and established, but all are relevant to the lives of senior Brazilians. It’s not about pitching or selling ideas, but sharing, asking questions, giving people a chance to voice their opinions, and connecting the diversity. This is how collaboration begins among people who previously did not even know each other. We have done more than 200 of these meetings all over the country, and in a few other countries, too.
As we age, society pushes us out of public view. Aside from the positive lifelong recognition retirement brings to people, I came to see ‘retirement status’ as an arrangement that harms many seniors. There is a transaction: We won’t expect you to work anymore, and you should stay home and decline in private. We associate aging primarily with illness, loneliness, and poverty. Aging becomes a very negative thing, associated only with loss and decline. The mistake is to think that this is an issue only for old people, but this is everyone’s issue because we are all aging every day. So we needed to create a movement to include every age to debate. Lab60+ is a network-based effort, run on zero budget. All the Cafes held locally were put on by people in that city, who emerge and take the lead. I just support them by sharing the method and together, we form a social-impact network.
Cusano: What does “longevity” mean to you?
Serapião: By longevity, I don’t mean extending the years of life, but getting the maximum value out of every stage of life, and successfully managing and planning the transitions between them.
The old, three-stage definition of life—youth is the time to learn, adulthood the time to produce, old age the time to rest—made sense when human lives were only 50 years long and society ran on manual labor. But today, people are living longer, well into their 80s and 90s. Someone who retires at 65, what are they supposed to do for the next 25 years? We haven’t expanded the stages of life, we just let the last one go on longer and longer.
Longevity is a framework that makes no one irrelevant because of age. Your unique skill and strength as an older person create value for you and for others.
Cusano: How does this perspective influence your ideas for 60+ employment?
Serapião: Work is important for many reasons, beyond the financial. Adults socialize through work, we chat, make friends, engage others face-to-face, fulfil a role. Retirement can cancel all that overnight, and for many it marks the beginning of decline, not caused by age but isolation. It’s no wonder that at Labora, we use social connection and well-being as indicators of success in senior employment, right along with earned income. In our youth-centered culture, jobs are designed for people not older than 40. So, we need not just more jobs, but new jobs, professions of the future, where seniors’ own strengths and competencies serve real needs. This means working with all the actors, not just seniors, but employers, and specific industries that already see strategic advantage to expanding service to senior customers.
Cusano: What’s an example of a job that makes use of seniors’ strengths?
Serapião: In 2019, Labora partnered with the largest bank in Brazil with branches everywhere, to make good use of seniors’ empathy and patience. As we know, banks are integrating digital services at the branches, but the seniors—and many seniors rely on in-person banking—are not used to the new gadgets and procedures and need a lot of support. Senior customers were being seen as a problem, but for us they were the solution. We piloted a project with the bank to include a group of seniors at a new position at specific branches. They would take care of enhancing customer experience, guiding senior customers through the bank’s digital app. Within 3 months, these branches had increased customers’ digital engagement by more than 80%, compared to other branches that did not have seniors helping customers. There was an advantage to having a peer-to-peer customer support strategy, using the patience and empathy of senior employees.
Experiences such as this have shown me that including seniors presents a lot of value to companies and society, but then we need to customize these new roles, understand their specific moment of life. They usually prefer a flexible routine in order to accommodate multiple responsibilities. So, we developed a technology to enable them to choose to work as much or as little as they want, each week. They can have multiple jobs for multiple employers. We can think of it as a gig economy for seniors, tailored for improving their well-being and solving employers’ challenges. If we want to include age diversity, we need to partner with employers to design specific working opportunities for seniors.
Cusano: How do you prepare seniors for these new kinds of roles?
Serapião: The first step is to understand that our lifespan is longer, so when we reach 50, we need to think about starting the second half of our life. How will you build it? Look ahead another 20 or 30 years. It’s not about clinging onto or throwing away your past, but discovering how your competencies and experiences might answer the new challenges of today.
The next step is to engage real life experiences to test yourself in new roles, new industries. We have created a “learning at the job” lab, where we introduce around twenty or thirty seniors into organizations, to advise on real challenges. Of course, these are not specific technical challenges, like designing a new database, bur more about management, teams, communication, culture, creativity. The seniors aren’t necessarily even business people, they might be retired as doctors or homemakers. They have lifetimes’ worth of experience understanding others.
The results were excellent, and there are many companies that would like to try something like this. We created Labora to use technology to open up opportunities for thousands of seniors. In 2020, Labora launched a partnership with Oracle to build new professions around technology for seniors. We invited large tech employers to ask, what do we miss if everyone on a team is under 30? How could an intergenerational tech team make better digital products? After a few months of experiments, we have trained the first 500 seniors to integrate into large employers’ tech teams. And we start to hear from some of them, “How come we haven’t hired anyone over 50 on our team before?”
The Sweetest Gig is Hiring Mitzvah Team ‘Kids Write Chocolate Reviews in Hebrew’
The Sweetest Gig is a fun meaningful weekend work program teaching kids skills. Kids are hired to taste the world’s best Chocolate and write creative reviews.
— Carlos Cymerman, Fun Advocate+Founder, The Sweetest Gig
SANTA MONICA, CA, UNITED STATES, January 19, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Recruiting for Good (R4G) is a staffing agency helping companies find talented professionals and generating proceeds to fund The Sweetest Gig (preparing kids for life).
On The Sweetest Gig, Middle School kids are hired to taste The World’s Best Chocolate, write creative reviews, and earn fun perks. Kids who join The Mitzvah Team write reviews in Hebrew.
Kids that complete 3 successful reviews between February and April, 2021; earn mom gift (a box of fine chocolate, home delivered for Mother’s Day).
According to Recruiting for Good and The Sweetest Gig, Founder, Carlos Cymerman, “The Sweetest Gig is a mitzvah. We’re preparing kids for life by teaching that anything meaningful, rewarding, and worthwhile; takes time and effort.”
How Parents Help Their Kids Land The Gig
The Sweetest Gig is a high purpose work program for grateful working professional families that make a difference in LA.
One parent needs to be fluent in English; email Sara(at)TheSweetestGig(dot)com to make an appointment and speak with Carlos, the Founder.
Kids attend Middle School in LA and learned Hebrew in the US (Hebrew School or Jewish Day School).
Kids that desire to earn Mother’s Day gift; need to land gig by February 9th, 2021 (hiring just 25 kids).
Carlos Cymerman, adds, “Parents contact me today to help your kids land The Gig….We’re making learning Hebrew; fun, and sweet.”
Before launching staffing agency, Recruiting for Good, Founder, Carlos Cymerman worked as a teacher for 10 years during and after college. And Recruiting for Good has been sponsoring creative writing contests for the last 10 years (for adults and kids). In 2014, he created and sponsored a creative writing program at Olympic High School in Santa Monica.
The Sweetest Gig is a rewarding ‘Kid Love Work’ program; especially suited for ‘Grateful Working Professional Families’ that love preparing their kids to succeed in life. Sweet Creative Middle School Kids are hired on weekends to taste The World’s Best Chocolate, write creative reviews, and earn fun perks. The Sweetest Gig is created by Carlos Cymerman, and sponsored by Recruiting for Good. “Kids learn that anything meaningful, rewarding, and worthwhile; takes time, and effort.” www.TheSweetestGig.com
Summer Camp May Not Be Back…The Sweetest Gig Will Be… “Sweet Love Festival.” Fun Creative Summer 2021!
Since 1998, Recruiting for Good has been a purpose driven staffing company. Companies retain our recruiting agency to find talented and value driven professionals who love to use their talent for good in Accounting/Finance, Engineering, Information Technology, Marketing, Operations, and Sales. www.RecruitingforGood.com. R4G is on a fun mission; preparing kids for life to succeed thru ‘The Sweetest Gig,’ fun love work program.
Recruiting for Good Created The Goodie Foodie Club whose purpose is to help fund ‘The Sweetest Gig’ so more kids can learn to love work and prepare for life. Participate in our meaningful Referral Reward Program today to Enjoy The Sweetest Rewards (12 Months of Sushi, or 12 Months The Finest Chocolate Delivered to Mom). www.TheGoodieFoodieClub.com
Fugro wins Suedlink Section 2 gig – reNews
Fugro has won a multidisciplinary contract on Germany’s SuedLink renewables powerline, which will transport electricity generated by offshore wind in the north of Germany to the south.
Vossing Engineers awarded Fugro a geotechnical and water consulting contract to support the route planning, permitting and installation of 106 km of underground power cables on Section 2 of Germany’s new Suedlink powerline.
The entire 700 km cable is due to be completed by 2028 and will be the country’s largest energy infrastructure project when completed.
Fugro‘s multidisciplinary consultancy services on the project include site investigation supervision, hydrogeological expertise and environmental support.
Vossing Engineers will then use Fugro’s geo-data acquisition, and ground and environmental risk mitigation advice, to optimise the cable route layout to “reduce costs, accelerate the schedule and ensure the successful implementation” of Section 2.
Vossing project director Wido Schmidt-Heck said: “Vossing’s challenge on Section 2 of the Suedlink project is to combine approximately 150 staff from different companies into one exploration, design and permitting team.
“This consultancy contract with Fugro facilitates that strategic cooperation and we look forward to a successful delivery.”
Fugro project manager Dirk Brinschwitz said: “I am proud to be managing this important energy transition project.
“At Fugro, our knowledge and services are the foundation of the carbon-neutral and safe energy supplies contributing to a safe and liveable world. Our comprehensive consulting package, which allowed Vossing to form a single multidisciplinary team, was a major factor in Fugro winning this contract award.”
NYC girl lands gig on upcoming PBS Kids show ‘Alma’s Way’
At the outset of the pandemic, the government undertook a deliberate effort to reduce economic activity in what was widely thought to be a necessary measure to slow the spread of COVID-19. Whereas most recessions call for policy that stimulates the economy, the COVID-19 recession called for the opposite — measures that would enable workers and businesses to hit pause until a vaccine or therapeutic became widely available. Now that vaccines are being administered, policy-makers face a different challenge — not keeping Americans inside, but getting them back to work as quickly as possible. In this context, President-elect Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package misses the mark. The proposal gives a nod to public health — with $20 billion allocated to vaccine distribution, $50 billion to testing, and $40 billion to medical supplies and emergency-response teams — but fails to address the most pressing hurdles to COVID-19 immunity. Vaccines sit unused not for lack of funding but thanks to burdensome rules determining which patients can receive shots and which doctors can administer them. Additional spending to speed up vaccine distribution is welcome, but its effects will be muted if bureaucratic hurdles remain in place. Even if the public-health provisions were to succeed in reopening the economy, much of the rest of Biden’s plan guarantees that it will reopen weaker. For one, an expanded unemployment-insurance top-up of $400 a week would mean more than 40 percent of those receiving unemployment benefits would make more off-the-job than on-the-job at least until September, and possibly for longer. The food-service and retail industries hit hardest by the pandemic would see the largest shortfalls in labor, exacerbating the challenges they’ve faced over the past year. Enhanced unemployment may have been reasonable when we wanted workers to stay home, but it’s catastrophic when we want them to go back to work. Meanwhile, Biden’s proposed minimum-wage increase to $15 nationally would eliminate an estimated 1.3 million jobs, hitting low-income states hardest. In Mississippi, where the median wage is $15, as many as half the state’s workers would be at risk. A minimum-wage hike may be high on the Democratic wish list, but it does not belong in an emergency-relief bill. The Biden plan isn’t all Democratic priorities, though. He took a page from Trump’s book and proposed $1,400 checks to households, bringing the second-round total to $2,000. With household income now 8 percent above the pre-pandemic trend, additional checks would do little more than pad savings accounts. Indeed, 80 percent of the recipients of last year’s checks put the money into savings or debt payments, not consumption. The flagship item in Biden’s plan would do little to spur economic growth even on Keynesian assumptions. The same goes for state and local aid, for which Biden is seeking $370 billion on top of $170 billion in public-education grants. The total of $540 billion far surpasses the roughly $50 billion hit to state and local tax revenues last year. As we wrote in December, states and cities are slow to spend federal grants, so the lion’s share of this stimulus would not show up until 2023. Rather than attempting to stimulate the economy, Biden is hoping to launder bailouts of profligate Democratic states through COVID-19 relief. Other parts of the bill — expansions of the earned-income and child-tax credits — are defensible long-term structural reforms, but as year-long emergency measures, they will have the same muted effect as direct checks. By including a slew of proposals unrelated to the pandemic, Biden has weakened his hand in negotiations and made it less likely that urgent measures pass quickly. In the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic policy-makers rose to the occasion. Following an unprecedented external shock, the U.S. economy has emerged in relatively good shape, with less unemployment and bankruptcy than most feared. But the policies implemented to curb COVID-19 are not suited for what will begin to become, over the course of this year, a post-pandemic economy. Biden may have campaigned during a recession, but he is taking office during a recovery. He should govern accordingly.
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