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 Community College Plus 50 Initiative to Expand to 100 Campuses, Triple Program Size 

5/3/2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                

Contact: Norma Kent
202/728-0200, x209
nkent@aacc.nche.edu

11 Colleges Named Plus 50 Champions, 8 Colleges to Participate in Speakers Bureau 

WASHINGTON – 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.

AACC announced today 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.

These newly designated “Plus 50 Champion Colleges” 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 will also 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.

The colleges involved in the project are: 

  • Anne Arundel Community College (Arnold, Md.) will be a Plus 50 Champion College and assist with one conference for the speaker’s bureau.
  • Cape Cod Community College (West Barnstable, Mass.) will assist with 2 conferences for the speaker’s bureau.
  • Clark College (Vancouver, Wash.) will be a Plus 50 Champion college and will assist with 2 conferences for the speaker’s bureau.
  • Clover Park Technical College (Lakewood, Wash.) will be a Plus 50 Champion College and will assist with 3 conferences for the speaker’s bureau.
  • College of Central Florida (Ocala, Fla.) will be a Plus 50 Champion College and will assist with 1 conference for the speaker’s bureau.
  • LaGuardia Community College (Long Island City, N.Y.) will be a Plus 50 Champion College.
  • Portland Community College (Ore.) will be Plus 50 Champion College and assist with 3 conferences for the speaker’s bureau.
  • Prince George’s Community College (Largo, Md.), will be a Plus 50 Champion College and assist with 3 conferences for the speaker’s bureau.
  • Spoon River College (Canton, Ill.), will be a Plus 50 Champion College and assist with 1 conference for the speaker’s bureau. 
  • St. Louis Community College (Mo.) will be a Plus 50 Champion College.
  • Westchester Community College (Valhalla, N.Y.) will be a Plus 50 Champion College.

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 Plus 50 Initiative at AACC 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.

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The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is a national organization representing close to 1,200 community, junior and technical colleges. Community colleges are the largest and fastest growing sector of higher education, annually enrolling more than 13 million students. 

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