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.
Launched by the AACC, the goal of the Plus 50 Initiative is to keep baby boomers in the workforce, saying that they “represent a tremendous resource to the nation in terms of experience, skills and leadership.” Many people born between 1946 and 1964 need training or re-training and that is why Shoreline Community College joined other colleges across the country to provide a Plus 50 curriculum.
“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.”
Shoreline’s program was designed carefully, with consideration on how to best help students get the current skills and tools needed in today’s workforce as quickly as possible, and for that reason, many courses can be completed in only one or two sessions. In addition to computer and math refresher courses, spring quarter classes include unique classes such as how to start a business, web site development for a personal business and how to create a profitable pet sitting business. Also on the line-up are classes that provide tips on job seeking techniques and how to organize both personal and professional lives. Other classes provide help making good financial decisions that support retirement planning. The Plus 50 program is also designed to focus on volunteer, civic, and service activities, which Shoreline has integrated into its curriculum.
Claudia, a Shoreline resident, 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 50 year-old says that the evening and weekend schedule made it easy for her schedule and that the one-on-one help from the instructor was very helpful.
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. In addition to content classes, some courses were specifically designed to help students take charge of their working future. In the course, ‘Staying in Charge as We Age,’ students focus on planning and decision making skills such as setting priorities and developing alternatives. In ‘Get Organized for Work,’ students learn tips on organization in the workplace and learn how to break old habits that are no longer effective in the workplace. Students will also learn techniques to keeping track of the job hunting process.
Learn more about the classes and registering at: http://www.shoreline.edu/Plus50/default.aspx or calling 206-533-6706.