When Mattie Ruffin, 62, retired from her job as a program analyst at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in early 2010, she took a year off to relax. After working for the federal government for 27 years, it was a well-deserved respite. “I hadn’t planned to retire, but my sister died suddenly,” recalls Ruffin, who is also a widow. “I got to thinking . . . I’m not 21 anymore, and tomorrow is just not promised to me. So I’m just going to come on out of here and enjoy my life.”
Ironically, that involved going back to work. Her ultimate working in retirement reward: “I’m a people person—I like helping people,” Ruffin says. “And that’s what I’m doing.” That led her to nonprofit work.
Ruffin has the cushion of a federal government pension, but she didn’t want to sit home indefinitely. “I developed a lot of good skills over the years, and computers are my thing,” she says. Her specialties, for example, include administrative management and budgets and spreadsheets on Excel. “I didn’t want to lose the technology skills,” she says. “If I didn’t do something to keep those up, then I felt I would have lost those skills.”
She signed up for the 10-week Envision 50+ program offered through the Workforce Development and Continuing Education department at nearby Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland. In 2010, the college started the program, aimed ...