Thursday, February 21, 2013

College Receives Grant to Train Baby Boomers for New Career


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      2/21/2013

                                                               (By Lisa Garrett)

         PENDLETON ---  Local displaced workers ages 50 and above will have a chance to gain a new skills set as a Certified Nurse Aide as a result of a $15,000 grant awarded to Tri-County Technical College.

         Tri-County was the only South Carolina technical college chosen in the latest round of grants for the Plus 50 Encore Completion Program, a national effort to train 10,000 baby boomers for new jobs in healthcare, education and social services. The program is sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

         The College will assist in preparing displaced workers or those looking to retrain for a new career as a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) through the Corporate and Community Education (CCE) Division. The percentage of tri-county residents, ages 50 - 64, who are unemployed are as follows: Anderson County, 19.4 percent; Oconee County, 22 percent and Pickens County, 18 percent.

         "We have long recognized the need to target relevant occupational training to our over 50-year old citizens," said Rick Cothran, dean of Tri-County's CCE Division. "This is a key step in the process of implementing and marketing needed training for this growing population of our region."

         Following completion of the CNA program, participants can augment their skills by taking additional classes in Dementia and Alzheimer's certificate program.  They also may take the WorkKeys job skills test that measures real-world skills and is the basis for the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC).  WorkKeys has three primary assessments:  applied math, reading for information and locating information.

         The goal is to train up to 50 individuals as certified nurse aides for area employment. Tri-County will receive referrals from WorkLink, Goodwill Industries and United Way.

         "At least once a week I receive calls from area long-term care facilities, retirement centers or the rapidly expanding, private non-medical home care companies who are seeking qualified employees," said Janelle Hicks, director of Healthcare Programs for Tri-County's Corporate and Community Education Division.  "The students in our SC DHHS-approved program can become state and nationally certified, thus establishing core competencies in basic nursing skills.  This opens the door to opportunities in a variety of healthcare settings, and can serve as a springboard for a new career.  Our Plus 50 Encore Completion Program really becomes seniors helping seniors."

         Since 2008, AACC and its network of Plus 50 Initiative colleges have worked with baby boomers to help them prepare for new careers. An independent evaluation of AACC's Plus 50 Initiative found that 89 percent of students agreed that college work force training helped them acquire new job skills, and 72 percent attributed landing a job to such training.

          "Many adults age 50 and over want to train for new jobs that help others and are hiring, but they need to update their skills. Community colleges offer a supportive environment where baby boomers can train for new jobs quickly and affordably," said Mary Sue Vickers, director for the Plus 50 Initiative at AACC.

         In addition to grant funds to augment training programs, Tri-County will gain access to toolkits and extensive marketing resources tailored to reach baby boomers.  The College also will benefit from the advice and support of staff at other community colleges that have successfully implemented programs for older learners and understand the unique needs of the plus-50 student population.

         The Plus 50 Encore Completion Program is funded with a $3.2 million grant to AACC provided by Deerbrook Charitable Trust. The Plus 50 Encore Completion program supports AACC's work to increase the number of students who finish degrees, certificates and other credentials.  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.

         For more information about the Plus 50 grant at Tri-County, contact Janelle Hicks at 646-1724 or


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