Press release from Brookdale Community College
Brookdale Community College announced that it is the recipient of a $15,000 two-year grant from The Plus 50 Encore Completion Program, to assist adults age 50 and older complete a degree or certificate programs in healthcare and social services.
The program is sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), and is part of a national initiative to train 10,000 baby boomers for new jobs in high-growth, high-demand occupations.
As part of the grant, Brookdale will establish an Encore Center for the Adult Learner on its Lincroft campus. The center will bring together current offerings for adult students and streamline the process for returning adults through one single point of contact. Included in the center will be such services as a Career Interest Inventory and Skills Assessment, and online workshops on topics that include using social media for the job search, resume writing and interview skills. The Center will coordinate existing services and offer an adult-friendly environment of support and assistance.
According to the 2000 Census, the number of adults between 55 and 64 is expected to increase by nearly 20 percent by 2020. The number of adults over 65 is expected to rise by nearly 33 percent. At the same time, jobs in the health care and social assistance industry, the largest industry employer in Monmouth County, are projected to grow nearly 20 percent by 2020, according to Economic Modeling Specialist International.
“The Plus 50 Encore Completion Program will allow us to continue to meet the personal and professional needs of an important segment of the local workforce,” said Marie Lucier-Woodruff, Brookdale’s dean of business and community development. “Brookdale is eager to join this national network of community colleges in helping adults 50 and older increase their knowledge, confidence and labor market competitiveness,” she said.
Adult learners face unique challenges, Lucier-Woodruff explained. Among them are greater home and financial obligations, difficulty finding study time and anxiety about returning to a classroom filled with recent high school graduates.
Brookdale currently offers a variety of credit and noncredit workforce training and services geared to this population. The Continuing Education department offers workshops and one-on-one career counseling. Short-term training and job placement in high demand occupations is also available.
Brookdale also has an admissions/recruitment representative dedicated exclusively to adult learners. As part of the Plus 50 program, he will coordinate program services, working collaboratively with student service representatives, continuing education staff, health sciences and human services faculty, personnel at the higher education centers and others.
To support the Plus 50 students, Brookdale will offer a Boot Camp that will provide condensed workshops and services to help older students with anxiety, as well as improve skills in test taking, technology literacy and time management. The college will also systematically evaluate prior experiences to determine eligibility for academic credit whenever possible, reducing the time to complete a degree or program.
The Plus 50 Encore Completion program is funded with a $3.2 million grant to AACC provided by Deerbrook Charitable Trust. Go here for additional information on the Plus 50 initiative at AACC.