Senior Planet Is Launching the Next Generation of 65+ Entrepreneurs
The community center is helping seniors combat ageism in their careers
Senior Planet is not your grandfather’s community center. Or maybe it is, in which case your grandfather is among the growing number of seniors who are thwarting ageism in the workplace by spending their post-60 years learning how to launch successful entrepreneur endeavors.
Founded by Tom Kamber, Senior Planet is a community center designed for modern seniors who aren’t interested in following an ageist societal script that says they should spend the latter of half of their lives in quiet retirement far away from the workforce. The New York City-based community center offers a variety of classes, workshops and programs to seniors who are looking to master the technological skills they need to succeed in their own professional endeavors.
“When you’re a senior, and you’ve got an idea, and you want to make it happen,” Kamber told MIT Technology Review, “Somebody’s got to help out a little bit.”
Senior Planet provides that help in the form of classes that teach senior students everything from Google Hangout and Wix to how to launch their own startups. While some join the community to brush up on their tech skills and enjoy a sense of camaraderie, MIT Technology Review reported that a number of Senior Planet alums have gone on to establish their own successful side hustles and businesses, including a 71-year-old former antiques seller turned interior designer and a knitting entrepreneur who managed to pay for a cruise thanks to online glove sales.
While some Senior Planet students may be looking for a reprieve from the monotony of retirement, others may be turning to work out of real financial need. In an economic climate in which full retirement is becoming less of a possibility for many Americans (according to MIT Technology Review, 63 percent of Americans age 55 to 64 and 20 percent of those over 65 are still working), Senior Planet provides resources for older adults to continue pursuing their professional goals while also supplementing their income in a workforce that is still largely ageist.
“When you live in an ageist society, your dreams, which might seem totally normal to you, are a threat to other people,” said Kamber. His answer to that threat, as the lettering on the glass door of Senior Planet asserts, is “aging with attitude.”
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