Cape Fear Community College was selected to participate in the “Plus 50 Encore Completion Program” as part of a nationwide effort coordinated by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).
The Plus 50 Initiative is a two-year effort by a pilot group of two-year institutions to create or expand campus programs to engage the plus-50 population in learning, re-training programs; and volunteer, civic, and service activities. The overall goal of the initiative is to develop and promote community colleges as the primary places where plus-50s can learn, train, and find ways to contribute to their communities and society as a whole.
Currently, CFCC is meeting with representatives of the local community and exploring potential classes and academic programs that would appeal to the plus 50 population in the area of heath care, education and social services.
The college established an advisory committee to help assess the educational needs and goals of the local population to develop courses and programs for the initiative. Longtime educator and community leader Dr. Michael Allred was named as the chairman of the advisory committee and explained that many older residents can benefit from classes and programs at CFCC.
“50 is the new 30,” Dr. Allred said. He emphasized that parents who have grown children find that they have more time to start a second career, get a degree or just take a class for personal enjoyment.
Allred, who also teaches a class for substitute teachers, said that have some life experience is an asset in a wide number of jobs, particularly teaching.
“Life experience is a valuable tool to have in the classroom,” Allred said.
The overarching goal of the Plus 50 Initiative is to support community colleges’ ability to engage plus 50 learners through education, work, and service. To reach this goal, the initiative focuses on developing and expanding the program offerings of the grantee colleges, by striving to reach more plus 50 students, by expanding plus 50 offerings to additional community colleges, and by putting the interests of plus 50 students at community colleges on the public agenda.
“Baby boomers who are out work or want to transition into new career fields need to upgrade 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 of the Plus 50 Initiative at AACC.
She 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,” Vickers said.
For more information about the Plus 50 program at CFCC, contact Bev Smalls at 362-7199 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.