CLEARWATER – St. Petersburg College recently joined 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 American Association of Community Colleges sponsors the program.
“SPC will offer older adults the opportunity to obtain a college level certificate in several health care professions,” said Sheila Newberry, program director for the Health Information Management programs.
The nationwide initiative is designed to assist age 50-plus adults with the opportunity to attend college and train for a new or better career.
The college is located in a community where almost a quarter of the population is currently over 50 years of age. It is well situated to provide learning opportunities and continuing education for older adults. Joining the Plus 50 Encore Completion program will greatly assist SPC in providing efficient and effective educational experiences to age 50-plus learners with various training options in the field of healthcare.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of adults over age 55 in the workforce will grow to 25 percent in 2020, up from 13 percent in 2000.
Through a grant, SPC will receive $15,000 over three years to assist adult’s ages 50 and older in completing an advanced certificate in health care. The program targets professionals already working in health who want to enhance their current credentials.
The grant program prepares older adults for careers as certified health data analysts, a job that will continue to grow as the health care industry becomes more data-driven. The certification gives practitioners the knowledge to acquire, manage, analyze, interpret and transform data into accurate, consistent and timely information.
SPC is one of 36 new colleges recently selected for the project. Since 2008, AACC and its network of Plus 50 Initiative colleges have worked with baby boomers and helped them prepare for new careers.
“Many adults age 50 and over want to train for new jobs that help others and are hiring, but they need to update their skills. Community colleges offer a supportive environment where baby boomers can train for new jobs quickly and affordably, while completing a marketable degree or certificate,” said Mary Sue Vickers, director for the Plus 50 Initiative at AACC.
In addition to receiving grant funds to augment training programs, participating colleges gain access to toolkits and extensive marketing resources tailored to reach baby boomers. They’ll 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.
Get more information about the Plus 50 Initiative at AACC.