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ECC joins national program to train older workers

Updated: January 31, 2013 6:36AM



Elgin 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. Elgin Community College will prepare older adults for such careers as clinical lab assistants, surgical technicians, pharmacy technicians, early childhood educators, and substance abuse counselors.

“We are excited to be a part of the Plus 50 program,” said ECC President David Sam, PhD, JD. “This program gives us another tool to help returning adults over 50 be successful.”

Elgin 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 work force 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.

Vickers says the program expects to add additional colleges in 2013 that will help it reach 10,000 baby boomer students by 2015.

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 http://plus50.aacc.nche.edu



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