Belmont College Receives Grant to Educate Baby Boomers
Belmont College Representative Part of National Effort to Retrain Adult Learners
Attends National Conference on College Completion
St. Clairsville, OH (May 23, 2013) – Belmont College is pleased
to announce that they have received the Plus 50 grant to educate and retrain adults
age 50 and over.
Retraining baby boomers for new careers is a growing focus for America’s community
colleges – but it’s not as simple as announcing a program and inviting adults age
50 and over to register for courses.
To learn how to improve their efforts to help adults age 50 and over come back to
campus for community college, local college staff, including Jennifer Redrup, Director
of Student Engagement, Leadership, and Career Services of Belmont College attended
the Plus 50 Conference: From Credentials to Careers. The conference, held in conjunction
with the 93rd Annual American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Convention,
was attended by more than 100 representatives from 82 community colleges.
AACC recently launched a nationwide initiative to train 10,000 baby boomers for
helping professions in health care, education and social services. Attending the
conference were 7 experienced and 63 recently involved community colleges in this
initiative, as well as representatives from 18 community colleges that also are
involved in helping baby boomers complete degrees or certificates that are in-demand.
At Belmont College, staff members are reaching out to baby boomers with services
and courses aimed at assisting plus 50 adults’ complete degrees and certificates.
“One issue discussed at the conference was how Belmont College can support adults
in achieving their career aspirations,” said Jennifer Redrup, Director of Student
Engagement, Leadership, and Career Services and Plus 50 Grant Coordinator. “We hope
to increase success and completion rates of certificates and degrees for students
aged 50 years and older.”
“Training for a new career can be challenging, especially for those who are returning
to the classroom after spending decades in the workforce,” said Mary Sue Vickers,
Director of the Plus 50 Initiative at AACC. “It’s critical for colleges to have
supports in place to help baby boomers acclimate to college successfully, so they
can successfully complete training programs in these high-demand fields and get
back to work.”
All of the colleges at the conference are focused on helping baby boomers complete
degrees or certificates – a key focus for community colleges nationally, noted Vickers.
“More colleges are measuring their success through the number of degrees and certificates
students earn, and are working to eliminate barriers that hold students back from
successfully completing their education goals,” said Vickers.
Baby boomers, like traditionally-aged students, can face challenges that slow or
stop their progress toward degrees or certificates. Applying for admission with
non-digital transcripts, navigating an online registration system, and determining
which courses to take for a degree or certificate are just the start of a plus 50
student’s journey into higher education. Finding time to study, facing fears about
math or computers, updating skills and going to classes with younger students, often
while working full-time and caring for other family responsibilities, can slow the
momentum from a plus 50 student’s career aspirations. Many of these issues can be
mitigated through better academic advising, refresher courses and support programs
tailored to baby boomer needs.
During the conference, the attendees learned how to identify resources, apply best
practices for helping plus 50 students and mobilize support. They also learned how
the initiative will be monitored and evaluated, so other colleges throughout the
country can learn from it and replicate it.
The programs are funded by Deerbrook Charitable Trust and Lumina Foundation, and
they build on the successful Plus 50 Initiative launched by AACC in 2008. The Plus
50 Initiative at AACC has focused its efforts during the last five years on workforce
training programs to get adults age 50 and over back on the job.
To learn more about the Plus 50 Encore Completion Program, visit plus50.aacc.nche.edu or contact Jennifer Redrup, Belmont
College Director of Student Engagement, Leadership, and Career Services, at 740.699.3815.
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