MILWAUKEE (Nov. 18, 2013) – Milwaukee Area Technical 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 health care, education and social services. The program is sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).
MATC will enhance support services for students age 50 and over who are enrolled in health information technology and health services management associate degree programs with a grant awarded by AACC for $15,000. The Plus 50 Encore Completion Program offers opportunities for skill updates and career makeovers for baby boomers, particularly those who are out of work or seeking to transition to a new career.
"This AACC grant will allow us to strengthen our outreach to and support of baby boomer students in high-demand healthcare careers," said MATC President Dr. Michael L. Burke. "The Plus 50 Encore Completion Program gives credits for past education and work experience, which helps students complete their education and join the workforce more rapidly."
Since 2008, AACC and its network of Plus 50 Initiative colleges have supported baby boomers coming to college and helped them prepare for new careers. Eighty-nine percent of students participating in AACC’s Plus 50 Initiative told an independent evaluator that college workforce training helped them acquire new job skills, and 72 percent attributed landing a job to such training. Currently, 100 two-year colleges nationwide participate in the program. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is the only other Wisconsin Technical College in the program.
“Baby boomers who 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 college campus before,” said Mary Sue Vickers, director for the Plus 50 Initiative at AACC.
Vickers added that many of the plus-50 adults who participate in the program also find great meaning and purpose in their work after they get hired. “Jobs in health care, education and social services give baby boomers a way to give back to society, so plus-50 adults find these careers to be particularly rewarding,” said Vickers.
In addition to providing grant funds that augment college workforce training programs, participating colleges 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 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.
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.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Association of Community Colleges is the leading advocacy organization representing more than 1,100 community, junior and technical colleges nationwide. Community colleges are the largest and fastest growing sector of higher education, enrolling 13.4 million credit and non-credit students each year. Learn more at www.aacc.nche.edu