New program helps baby boomers stay or get back into the workforce

Thursday, March 10, 2011

From the SCC academic news blog

Many baby boomers nearing the Golden Years don’t plan on retiring any time soon. Recognized as hard-working, competitive and goal-oriented, the ‘Boomer Generation’ just isn’t ready to leave the workforce; in fact, statistics by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) reveal that 4 out of 5 of the 78 million baby boomers closing in on retirement status are choosing to continue working either full- or part-time. That is why Shoreline Community College added the Plus 50 non-credit program last fall.

“The Plus 50 program provides a great framework to meet the varied goals of the baby-boom generation,” said David Cunningham, Dean of Workforce and Continuing Education. “Many in this generation aren’t looking to slow down; they’re looking for something to do, which may mean acquiring new skills for new interests or new employment.”

Claudia is taking her second Plus 50 class at SCC

Shoreline resident, Claudia decided to leave her job as a receptionist at a veterinary hospital in Seattle a couple years ago when a merger of several hospitals took place. “Everything changed and some of my responsibilities were moved to another administrator,” she said. “My heart wasn’t in it anymore and I realized it was time to move on.”

She found a number of job openings via online searches but soon realized that her skills needed a boost. “It dawned on me that employers were looking for the cream of the crop, and I really needed to update my skills.” The Plus 50 program was the perfect solution for the 50 year-old. She completed the two-day Word 2007 Level 1 course in the fall and learned basic desktop publishing skills from an instructor who has more than 20 years experience in instructional design. She says she really liked the class, noting that the instructor was very nice to work with and very personable. “She made it easy to follow and learn.”

Claudia has already enrolled in her second ‘Plus 50’ class, an Excel class, which she will start later this month. With things going so well, she thinks it won’t be too long before she is ready to start looking for work again and notes that being a baby boomer is to her advantage in many ways.

“Why wouldn’t they be interested in us?” she asks, referring to herself and classmates. “We have the maturity and work ethic that make us stand out.” Claudia plans to look for work in the medical industry later this year.

Plus 50 classes are offered evenings and weekends and range from one or two days to several weeks.


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