Cape Fear Community College is joining a nationwide effort to help prepare Baby Boomers to take on new jobs. CFCC was recently granted funding from the American Association of Community Colleges to create and expand programming that will engage the region’s fifty-plus population in the fields of health care, education and social services. CFCC’s “Encore Program,” as it’s dubbed, takes off in the fall. But first, they’re busy assessing the unique needs of this area’s aspiring senior students.
Through meetings with members of local retirement communities, art guilds and churches, program administrators have determined that such needs include closer parking, options for the hearing impaired, and a focus on in-person, hard-copy learning materials—rather than today’s trend toward digital education.
This is according to CFCC’s continuing education coordinator, Beverly Smalls, who says she’s finding ways to position seniors to better compete in the work force--via opportunities like substitute teacher training, and pharmacy technician programs.
"The average retiree is becoming bored, if they were used to actually working. And then we find people who were laid off during the Great Recession have to work beyond their sixties—may have to work until they’re in their seventies."
The overall goal of the nationwide grant is to get ten thousand more Baby Boomers into community college programs by 2016. Smalls says CFCC educators are planning to work with older students in smaller classes--and to make more scholarship opportunities available to senior students.