Dec 8, 2023 - Business

Richmond-based Naborforce launches "golden interns" program for seniors

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Move over Golden Bachelor, there's a new "golden" opportunity for seniors — one that doesn't involve getting semi-nude in a hot tub on national television — and this one is only for locals.

Driving the news: Naborforce, a Richmond-based on-demand service for older adults in need of assistance — just launched a Golden Intern program for "active retirees," the Times-Dispatch reports.

  • The company plans to hire three or four local seniors for a paid internship at its Scott's Addition office.

Why it matters: One in six Americans are 65 or older, and while many can't retire due to financial stress, some don't want to.

State of play: CEO Paige Wilson founded Naborforce in 2018. It's a tech-based solution that connects older folks who need help with everyday tasks — like running errands or rides to doctor's appointments — with contractors, aka "nabors," who are able to assist.

  • The idea was driven by her own struggle to balance work, parenthood and being available to her own aging mother, who often didn't want to ask for help out of fear of putting a burden on her daughter.
  • Nabors can be booked by the hour for a one hour minimum (hourly rate starts at $30 an hour with monthly packages available for less).

Since its launch, Naborforce has grown rapidly — it's now in eight cities across four states and was this year named the third fastest growing Richmond company by BizSense.

The internship program was kind of a natural growth out of Naborforce's core mission, Cary Wyatt with Naborforce tells Axios.

  • Many nabors are retirees or empty nesters, and Naborforce found they had so much more to give beyond the task-based nabor role.
  • In fact, its first two golden interns — Jim Norwood, a 79-year-old retired entrepreneur, and Fran Smith, a 70-year-old retired technology teacher — are both former nabors. And both started their internships last week.

Now instead of driving for clients a few days a week, the two are putting their decades of career experience to work for Naborforce. Norwood is consulting on community outreach, and Smith is developing an app that's user-friendly for seniors.

  • "Their ideas are so invaluable," Wyatt says.

And there's still room for two more. Interested golden interns can email the company, though Wyatt noted they've enjoyed pulling from their existing nabors. (Folks interested in those roles can apply here.)

What they're saying: "In just one short week, it is already clear that Our Golden Intern program is going to be a great thing all around for our company, for our clients and Nabors and for our community," company founder Wilson says.

What's next: The Golden Intern program will likely expand to Naborforce's other markets and at some point will launch a new round in Richmond, but they're keeping the schedule loose for now.

  • Flexibility is key for these interns, as it should be, Wyatt says. "They've earned it."

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