TCC Joins Initiative to Train Baby Boomers for New Jobs

March 12, 2014

Tulsa Community College has joined a group of community colleges from across the nation in a program to better serve baby boomers interested in health care, education and social services by helping them complete certificates or degrees. The group consists of 100 community colleges that were chosen to join the Plus 50 Encore Completion Program offered by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

“The goal of the Plus 50 program is to improve educational services that support academic success of older adults preparing for new careers,” said Dr. Sarah Plunkett, TCC Assistant Dean for Health Sciences. “This program aligns perfectly with the vision of Tulsa Community College to offer an inclusive, engaged center of life-long learning that transforms the world by empowering learners intellectually, culturally and socially. TCC currently offers a variety of degrees and certificates in the Health Sciences that are attractive to students who are over the age of 50.”

TCC’s 50 Plus students represent six percent of the student body, but that number is expected to grow. The number of students over the age of 50 returning to school is the fastest growing population of community college students. Many individuals make the choice to stay in the workforce longer, but may be seeking a new career that more closely mirrors their interest in community service.

TCC programs that may be of interest to Plus 50 adults include medical transcriptionist, pharmacy technician, respiratory therapist, certified nursing assistant, daycare worker, child development associate, substitute teacher and clinical laboratory assistant.

“Baby boomers that are out of work or want to transition into new career fields need to update their skills. Community colleges are affordable and working to help baby boomers, even if they’ve never stepped on a campus before,” said Mary Sue Vickers, director for the Plus 50 Initiative at AACC.

Colleges participating in the Plus 50 Initiative gain access to toolkits and extensive marketing resources tailored to reach baby boomers. They also benefit from the advice and support of staff at other community college 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 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.