TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- Tallahassee Community College was recently chosen to join the Plus 50 Encore Completion Program, a national effort to train 10,000 baby boomers for new jobs in healthcare, education and social services. The program is sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).
The college will assist adults age 50 and over in completing degrees or certificates in high-demand occupations that give back to the community. With many adults age 50 and over out of work or seeking to transition to a new career, the program offers skill updates and career makeovers. Tallahassee Community College will prepare older adults for such careers as nurses, radiologic technicians, dental hygienists, diagnostic medical sonographers and other specialties.
“TCC has always prioritized matching students’ training with the needs of the local workforce,” said Amy Combs, program coordinator for information technology at TCC’s Center for Workforce Development and project director for the Plus 50 Initiative at TCC. “TCC also supports lifelong learning, and this grant gives us a great opportunity to expand our commitment to both of those values.”
“We recognize that the Plus 50 population has unique strengths, and we will teach to those strengths,” said Dr. Jim Murdaugh, president of TCC. “Our goal is to retrain and return Plus 50 students to the workforce in the shortest time possible, or assist them in pursuing higher degrees.”
Tallahassee Community College is one of 17 colleges recently selected for the project. The new colleges join 11 colleges chosen in August 2012.
The Plus 50 Encore Completion Program is offered by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in cooperation with its member colleges and will ultimately comprise 100 colleges with special training programs for students age 50 and older.
Since 2008, AACC and its network of Plus 50 Initiative colleges have worked with baby boomers to help them prepare for new careers. An independent evaluation of AACC’s Plus 50 Initiative found that 89 percent of students agreed that college workforce training helped them acquire new job skills, and 72 percent attributed landing a job to such training.
“Many adults age 50 and over want to train for new jobs that help others and are hiring, but they need to update their skills. Community colleges offer a supportive environment where baby boomers can train for new jobs quickly and affordably,” said Mary Sue Vickers, director for the Plus 50 Initiative at AACC.
In addition to grant funds to augment training programs, participating colleges gain access to toolkits and extensive marketing resources tailored to reach baby boomers. They’ll also benefit from the advice and support of staff at other community colleges that have successfully implemented programs for older learners and understand the unique needs of the plus 50 student population.
The Plus 50 Encore Completion Program is funded with a $3.2 million grant to AACC provided by Deerbrook Charitable Trust. The Plus 50 Encore Completion program supports AACC’s work to increase the number of students who finish degrees, certificates, and other credentials. In April 2010, AACC committed alongside other higher education organizations, to promote the development and implementation of policies, practices and institutional cultures that will produce 50 percent more students with high quality degrees and certificates by 2020.
For more information about the Plus 50 Initiative at AACC, see plus50.aacc.nche.edu.