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STLCC Named Plus 50 Champion College by AACC

May 10, 2012

Gearing up to triple the size of a program assisting community colleges and adult learners across the nation is no small task – but the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is getting some extra help from St. Louis Community College.

AACC recently announced the selection of 11 community colleges that will assist in scaling up the Plus 50 Encore Completion program as it reaches out to 100 colleges and 10,000 additional plus-50 students by 2015. The students will get job training and earn a certificate or degree related to healthcare, education or social services.

STLCC will be a Plus 50 Champion College, and will assist with evaluating and supporting the 100 new Plus 50 Encore Completion colleges as they put in place programs to help baby boomers heading back to school to re-train for careers that give back. Several colleges also will participate in a speaker’s bureau designed to distribute broad information to community colleges about how to work with baby boomer students, who bring unique needs and strengths to college campuses.

“As the improving economy begins to gain traction, mature workers will have increased opportunities to bring their vast array of assets-work ethic, leadership and experience to name a few – back into the workplace,”  said Rod Nunn, STLCC’s vice chancellor for workforce and community development.  “We’re pleased to extend to our Plus 50 students our personalized assistance, programs and services to help them acquire and  retain positions in high-demand, high growth job sectors.  We’re doing our part to keep the workforce robust with a diverse, experienced population.”

The Plus 50 Champion colleges and speaker’s bureau participants will build on their own experiences from working since 2007 with the tidal wave of baby boomers who turned to community colleges to re-train for new jobs when the economic recession left many unemployed.

Each Plus 50 Champion College will work with the new colleges implementing programs for plus 50 adults returning to school. The Plus 50 Champion Colleges and the colleges participating in the speaker’s bureau will receive grants to support their participation in the project.

In May 2012, AACC will issue a request for proposals to community colleges asking them to apply if they would like to be part of the Plus 50 Encore College initiative and receive grant funding. AACC received a $3.2 million grant from the Deerbrook Charitable Trust to fund the Plus 50 Encore Completion program.

The Plus 50 Encore Completion program supports AACC’s work to increase the number of students who finish degrees, certificates, and other credentials with value in the workplace.  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.

Since 2008, the AACC Plus 50 Initiative has focused much of its effort on training programs to get unemployed older adults back on the job. Lumina Foundation currently funds the participation of 18 community colleges in the Plus 50 Completion Strategy, which is helping baby boomers complete degrees or credentials. AACC’s Plus 50 Initiative began with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies and originally involved 15 colleges, and then expanded to 32 more colleges.