MCC Publications

Ageless Learning Program to Train Baby Boomers for New Jobs

MCC 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 completion of degrees and credit and non-credit certificate programs. Plus 50 Encore offers skill updates and career makeovers for baby boomers age 50 and over who are out of work or seeking to transition to a new career.

“For adults age 50 and up – who lost their jobs in the recession, it’s been hard for them to get back to work,” said Marla Brinson, dean of enrollment and student support services at Middlesex. “Many of these boomers stayed unemployed for a longer time period than younger workers. Many are caring for elderly parents and are supporting adult children due to a poor economy. These older adults need to replace lost income by starting new careers to replace jobs that may no longer exist because of the recession. That’s where the Encore Completion program comes in.”

Middlesex County College is one of 36 new colleges recently selected for the project. Since 2008, AACC and its network of Plus 50 Initiative colleges have worked with baby boomers and helped 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,” said Mary Sue Vickers, director of the Plus 50 Initiative at AACC. “Community colleges offer a supportive environment in which baby boomers can train for new jobs quickly and affordably, while completing a marketable degree or certificate.”

In addition to receiving 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. For more information, call Ms. Brinson at 732-906-2509.