The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)
Phyllis Snyder has led the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning’s Philadelphia regional office since 1993. She has served as Regional Vice President since 2000, and now holds the position of Vice President for Healthcare Services and Mature Worker Initiatives. She has conducted research for the Conference Board and Civic Ventures, helped to develop and implement the Tapping Mature Talent project, and created the Mentors 4 STEM program. Phyllis has worked with workforce development staff to develop many CAEL consulting products, including Educational Strategy Sessions, Workforce 2.0 tools and Supervisor Circles. She has also served on the CAEL team that consulted with the MassJobs Council to shape the One-Stop Career Center System in Massachusetts. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree from Smith College, a master’s degree in Teaching from Harvard University and a master’s degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.
Q. Why did CAEL decide to join Age4Action?
The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, known as CAEL, joined Age4Action because it wants to contribute to shaping the agenda of a national advocacy organization that increases the visibility of and opportunities for older adults. CAEL sees Age4Action as key to identifying and promoting best practices for mature adults.
Q. Please share with us the latest news and developments coming out of CAEL that Age4Action members would want to know?
CAEL is engaged in a number of initiatives that seek to develop and test new models that can prepare older adults to remain in or return to the workforce. With support from Atlantic Philanthropies and in collaboration with the Council on Competitiveness, CAEL is providing technical assistance, opportunities for peer learning, and policy support to ten grantees across the country as part of the Aging Worker Initiative. The grantees, whose work is funded by the US Department of Labor, are developing and implementing programs to address the employment and training challenges facing older adults as well as the challenges employers face as they attempt to retain and retrain this population.
CAEL is collaborating with Coming of Age in Philadelphia, where it is piloting an Encore Volunteer Manager project with support from the Barra Foundation, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania Department of Aging. CAEL has trained older adults to work with nonprofits to build their capacity, particularly in attracting and managing volunteers. CAEL has developed and implemented Mentors4STEM, a model for bringing the experience of older adults who have worked in math and science into the classroom. CAEL also prepared a report, “How Boomers Can Help the Nation Go Green,” for Civic Ventures. The report outlines opportunities for leveraging the experience of older adults who seek to transition to encore work in the green economy.
Q. In what ways can Age4Action serve or help CAEL?
Age4Action helps us learn from and collaborate with other national organizations that are focused on the older adult population. This knowledge and collaboration is critical to CAEL’s policy agenda as it seeks to improve opportunities for this population as part of the reauthorization of WIA and the Older Americans Act.
Q. Within the civic-engagement and older-adult movement, what would you say is the biggest unmet need and how can Age4Action have an impact?
The most critical needs relate to providing older adults with guidance and information that enable them to identify and prepare for work, both paid and volunteer, and to helping our society recognize the skills and competencies that this population can bring to both businesses and nonprofits.
Q. How does Age4Action’s mission apply to you in your personal and/or professional life?
Since I am a mature worker who has been able to continue working on issues of importance to me, I am honored to contribute to Age4Action’s efforts to make this option available to all older adults. We need to develop pathways for those over 50 who seek to continue to work or to return to work.