Belmont College

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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