How to Engage the Plus 50 Student


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How to Engage the Plus 50 Student. Presented at the Illinois Council of Community College Administrators Conference, Tinley Park, IL, November 18, 2010.

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  • Nationally, the unemployment rate is at 9.6%We continue to see an overall increase in the unemployment rate of individuals age 55 and above.Reference: the release of a October 2010 unemployment report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Researchers caution that the sample did not perfectly represent the population of community colleges, and that respondents are more likely to be multi-campus and larger institutions.
  • Community colleges have long offered continuing education and job training programs. Many unemployed plus 50 workers are reaching out to their local community colleges to expand their skill sets and reinvent themselves for new careers. To help address the critical needs JJC was selected to participate in the Plus 50 Initiative.The Plus 50 Initiative is conducted by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to benchmark and showcase the most current and innovative programs at community colleges to engage the 50+ learner. Through the AACC Plus 50 Initiative JJC created the nation’s first Plus 50 Workforce Center. The Plus 50 Workforce Center was established to create and expand campus programs to engage the 50+ population in learning; training or re-training programs; and volunteer activities. This is part of a three-year grant program in learning teams.In year two JJC and Moraine Valley Community College partnered together. JJC is serving as a mentor college under the Plus 50 Initiative to MVCC.Going into our third year we have also expanded to serve as a Peer-to-Peer Ambassador to Kishwaukee College, Parkland College, and Southwestern Illinois College. If you are interested in learning how you can participate please let us know.
  • Customized computer course for individuals age 50 and better seeking additional computer skills for employment. 32% have taken a computer course to increase skills51% of program participants have matriculated into JJC credit classesSocial Networking Class offered
  • MVCC offers customized computer classes for students age 50 and above including: 50 Plus computer basics, 50 Plus Window basics, and 50 Plus internet basicsWe also offered a Social Networking class to teach students how to use sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn.
  • 51% of individuals who have attended a free career workshop, assessment, or advising have moved on to take a college credit class.As a result of the economic downturn, the number of students between the ages of 40 and 55 enrolled at JJC has increased by 6.7%.To assist mature workers in improving their skills, Individuals 50+ within the JJC district are eligible for a one time $100 tuition voucher. In addition, through support from the JJC Foundation, individuals who complete 10 hours of volunteer service receive a 3 college credit tuition waiver. Retirement Planning CourseA growing proportion of older adults do not have the option of retiring from work. Instead, many continue working for economic reasons.Learn how to avoid the ten biggest retirement planning mistakes by attending JJC’s Retirement Planning classes!Lifelong Learning1124 enrollments are 50+ for LLC classesThe Seniors in Motion group are hosting the Senior Expo here at the college on March 17th
  • At MVCC, it’s never too late to learn something new. Last Spring MVCC introduced several new 50 Plus Ageless Learning classes to meet the special interests of individuals 50+.Navigating the Cycle of Health Insurance will help students find out how to reduce health insurance costs and get an overview of group and individual health plan options. The Fit Over 50 class includes both lectures and exercise. Love to travel? Find some amazing travel deals using the Internet after taking Let’s Find a Deal.
  • Plus 50 Workforce Center is located at our City Center Campus. Free career workshops, advising, and assessments are offered on a weekly basis and are customized to the mature worker.With the Job Market statistics we must help job seekers over the age of 50 reinvent their resumes, improve interviewing techniques, learn how to job search using the internet, and develop their networking abilities.Along with these workshops, we also provide a Support Group Session. The counseling department provides a trained counselor to proctor this session. We find that job seekers that are over the age of 50 have a difficult time coping with their job loss. Providing this type of session allows the participants to learn how to cope with these feelings, begin to heal, and learn how to put things in perspective.New to our program is an opportunity for job seekers to participate in mock interviews. After the interview the Interview Specialist will provide constructive criticism and feedback to improve interviewing techniques.In partnership with Workforce Services of Will County we also host an annual job fair. Last year, 50 employers attended, looking to hire mature workers. Over the last year and a half we have provided programs and services to over 500 +50 individuals in our community!
  • JJC has established and marketed training programs to individuals age 50 and above.
  • Needs Assessment is a BIG must, for plus 50 programs.Plus 50 adults have different needs and academic goals than traditionally-aged students. Yet few colleges are doing the work needed to gauge their needs and design coursework that is effective for them.Survey data suggest that one of the most important factors influencing program quality is needs assessment.Yet, only 24% of responding colleges have organized a needs assessment to guide their course offerings for baby boomers.76% of responding colleges have not conducted a needs assessment to help them plan plus 50 student programs.However, colleges that have conducted a needs assessment are more likely to revise course curriculum and/or program delivery to suit the needs of local plus 50 learners, than colleges that do not conduct needs assessment. Of the 76% that said they didn’t conduct an assessment, only 27% tailor course curriculum and program delivery. While of the 24% that did conduct a needs assessment, 64% of them tailor curriculum and program delivery specifically to meet the needs of the plus-50 learners.Gauging the needs of plus 50 learners in the community, is a step that can be taken by community colleges with modest or minimal expense. And is highly advised so that colleges can understand this important population and its needs.
  • Talk to plus 50 students about their career goals and objectives. Conduct a focus group of 50+. Reach out to your city, county, or state economic development office. Talk to local Chambers of Commerce, and business networking organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club. Talk with them about what their workforce needs are and where they see business development moving within the community. Some of the most effective training and career development programs have an established relationship with area businesses and provides skilled workers that meet their needs.
  • Integration services – such as customized advising, and plus 50 student orientations – can go a long way to helping plus 50 students feel welcome on campus. MVCC has worked with Advisors and Counselors on how to better meet the needs of students age 50 and above. JJC has a designated Plus 50 Advisor and has worked with Office of Student Activities to offer the Adult Lunch Bunch and Adult Transfer Fair.
  • Plus 50 students are typically seeking individualized coursework as they re-train for a new career. Few plan to acquire an associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year college. The enrollment requirements used for traditionally-aged students are not necessarily appropriate for plus 50 adults. Colleges that allow plus 50 student enrollees to waive stringent pre-registration requirements will attract more of them.
  • Despite the challenges of FTE funding formulas and tuition waiver restrictions, plus 50 students have the potential to be a very profitable market.
  • How to Engage the Plus 50 Student

    1. 1. Plus 50 InitiativeRehired, Rewired, & Re-inspired: How to Engage the Plus 50 Student Joliet Junior CollegeKelly Lapetino and Pam AbbottMoraine Valley Community CollegeLinley White<br />
    2. 2. Workers over age 45 who are unemployed, are more likely to stay unemployed longer, than younger workers. More “long-term unemployed” are plus 50 workers.<br />The Critical Need<br />
    3. 3. How many are out of work?<br /> October 2010– 14.8 million Americans unemployed<br /> National unemployment rate 9.6% <br /> Unemployment rate ages 45-54 7.8%<br /> Unemployment rate ages 55+ 7.3%<br />Ref: October 2010 <br />unemployment report by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics<br />
    4. 4. About the Survey<br />204 community colleges responded to the survey.<br />Approximately 1,081 institutions representing every community college in the United States were invited to participate.<br />Conducted online in fall 2008.<br />
    5. 5. The Plus 50 Adult:A Dramatically Different Type of Community College Student<br />
    6. 6. Community Colleges Offer Options and Possibilities<br /> Short-term training for a new career can get an unemployed worker back on the job and earning money in a matter of months, not years.<br />
    7. 7. Community Colleges Offer a Range of Programs<br />Personal enrichment<br />Workforce training and career development<br /> Volunteering<br />
    8. 8. Enrichment Focused Plus 50 Programs May Hurt Community College Bottom Lines<br />
    9. 9. JJC Plus 50 Workforce Center Mission<br />To promote the continued vitality of the mature workforce through the delivery of a comprehensive system of quality employment, education, and training services that support local and regional economic development initiatives.<br />
    10. 10. Of the colleges offering workforce training courses, over half tailored them to plus 50 student needs.<br />Tailoring Courses for Plus 50 Needs<br />
    11. 11. JJC has seen an increased enrollment of 50+ students particularly in computer related courses<br /><ul><li>Customized 50+ computer classes
    12. 12. Full range of computer courses offered
    13. 13. Too Young For Facelift? Too Old For </li></ul> Facebook?<br />
    14. 14.
    15. 15. Learning is life-long and many people in our community want to attend classes or programs in order to begin a new career or obtain a degree.<br /><ul><li>Tuition waivers through grant funding
    16. 16. Mentor and Volunteer program
    17. 17. Retirement Planning
    18. 18. Lifelong learning classes</li></li></ul><li>Ageless Learning Classes for Adults Over The Age of 50<br />ART<br /><ul><li>Oil Painting
    19. 19. Watercolors</li></ul>FITNESS<br /><ul><li>Fit Over 50</li></li></ul><li>Joliet Junior College’s Plus 50 Workforce Center helps the mature worker face the challenges of<br />obtaining employment after the age 50.<br /><ul><li>Free career workshops, career assessments and advising
    20. 20. Support group session
    21. 21. Mock Interview
    22. 22. Annual +50 friendly job fair</li></li></ul><li>Looking for a New Career Direction?<br />
    23. 23. Plus 50 Career Training<br />Pharmacy Technician for 50+<br />Alzheimer’s at Home Caregiver<br />Paraprofessional<br />
    24. 24. Laying Out The Welcome Mat<br />Workforce training & career development programs help plus 50 adults prepare for new careers during a turbulent economy.<br />
    25. 25. Colleges can improve support services that help integrate plus 50 students into the fabric of campus life.<br />
    26. 26. Many community colleges are reaching out to plus 50 adults with tailored programs, but more needs to be done.<br />Inviting Plus 50 Adults to Campus<br />
    27. 27. Recommendations: Know your customer: conduct a high-quality needs assessment<br />
    28. 28. Recommendations: Customize workforce training and career development programs to match the needs and objectives of plus 50 students.<br />
    29. 29. Recommendations: Concentrate more on support services that can help plus 50 students integrate into campus life.<br />
    30. 30. Recommendations: Put policies in place that streamline registration for plus 50 students<br />
    31. 31. Recommendations: Remember that even though some need financial aid, the plus 50 age group also represents a valuable market and source of revenue.<br />
    32. 32. Website Resources<br /><br />“Educating Plus 50 Learners: Opportunities for Community Colleges” <br />Full Report & Executive Summary<br />Biweekly e-newsletter<br />Publications<br />Student stories<br />