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From the director's chair: LearningLife's Andy Gilats on the new Life Skills Workshops, and what's coming up next for LearningLife

AndyGilats2.jpgThis fall, LearningLife will premiere the Life Skills Workshops--half-day workshops that cover topics from financial planning, to creating a legacy, to charting your future.

This month, Living a LearningLife writer Megan Rocker sat down with LearningLife director Andy Gilats to get a sneak peek at this new series, and at LearningLife's other fall programming.

Megan Rocker: What's coming up this fall for LearningLife?
Andy Gilats: First, we're launching Life Skills Workshops, a collection of workshops designed to help us live well today--and even better tomorrow. No matter what stage of our lives we're in or entering, life skills workshops help us engage fully now while preparing for the next stage through self-assessment and discovery, planning for transitions, and helping us gain purpose in living.

To complement these opportunities and extend LearningLife's online learning, we're also launching several expert blogs that people can enjoy, learn from, and comment on. In addition to featuring travel writer Catherine Watson, we have top U of M and community experts in financial planning, and on issues related to aging, self-discovery, and retirement benefits.

MR: Can you tell us more about the Life Skills Workshops?
AG: The workshops will cover topics from retirement and financial planning, to career and lifestyle transitions, to work and personal legacies.

Each workshop is taught by the expert who created and developed it. Each is three and a half hours long. Each is limited to 24 or 30 participants in order to facilitate interaction.

Workshops are held after work on weeknights and on Saturday mornings at the U of M's Continuing Education and Conference Center on the St. Paul campus. The cost will be $65 per workshop. More information is available at the LearningLife Web site or by calling 612-624-4000.

MR: Why are these types of life skills workshops important [to the participant] in this day and age?
AG: As 78 million baby boomers move into and through the second half of life, reshaping society's core notions of aging as they go, it is becoming critical to acquire "life skills," the resources we rely upon to make our journey smooth and rewarding. They include planning, navigation, problem solving, resilience, adaptability, decision-making, and more. Life Skills Workshops from LearningLife feature all these skills.

MR: Who should attend? Retirees? Not-yet-retired persons? People having a "mid-life crisis�?? Can a non-Boomer attend?
AG: I think people of any age can benefit from Life Skills Workshops, since our journey through life is more about "stage" than chronological "age." The best advice is to look at the workshops and see which ones hold resonance for you.

MR: What types of activities will be included?
AG: All Life Skills Workshops focus on hands-on activities and interaction. There won't be any lecturing - but our expert educators will facilitate your learning. You do have to bring your thinking cap, but it will be brushed and polished by the time you leave!

To read detailed course descriptions and instructor bios, or to register, visit the LearningLIfe Web site. Or, register by phone at 612-624-4000.

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