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AACC Awarded Grant - Prepare Boomers for Encore Careers

July 30, 2010

      Anne Arundel Community College has received a $25,000 Encore Career Grant to launch a new program to benefit adults over the age of 50 who wish to return to college or seek retraining for careers in areas such as health professions.

      With funding from The Deerbrook Charitable Trust, Civic Ventures -- a think tank on boomers, work and social purpose -- provided the grant to AACC and 14 other colleges in nine states. The funds will support the 15 colleges’ proposals to adapt existing programs or create new ones to help adults retrain for careers as part-time college faculty, community health workers, pharmacist technicians and more.

        “Anne Arundel Community College is a great place to learn, no matter what your age or interest. Many midlife learners want to pursue change careers, but are not sure how. This initiative will help them get started and have a successful experience,” said Terry Portis, Ph.D., director of the AACC Center on Aging.

      At AACC, in fiscal year 2010, 24 percent of students enrolled in credit and noncredit courses are age 50 or older. The Center on Aging will play a strong role in interesting adults in the Encore Career initiative. This fall, it will create and launch a program called “The Allied Health Pathway for Encore Careers” consisting of two free, two-hour online courses that will introduce careers available, how to enter them and strategies for older adults returning to college.

      “In any economy, let alone a downturn, it can be tough to make a career transition,” said Judy Goggin, vice president of Civic Ventures and the person in charge of the Encore College initiative. “These grants recognize and support community colleges as a go-to place for boomers training for encore careers combining passion, purpose and a paycheck.”

      The next stop for AACC Encore Career participants is with the college transition coordinator, who will provide individual counseling to help them select the training that best meets their personal and professional goals. An Encore Career assistant will follow up with participants during their training to direct them to additional support services as needed.

      According to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, 16 categories of allied health occupations will experience growth in the next decade but lack trained workers to fill vacancies and new positions.

      In the program’s first year, the college anticipates at least 100 participants for the online courses; 25 are expected to enroll in allied health training. Two organizations are partnering with AACC to promote the “Allied Health Pathway for Encore Careers:” the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities, which already works with AACC’s Center on Aging, and the Anne Arundel County Senior Provider Group. The group consists of private and public companies and organizations that provide services to adults age 55 and over.

      For information on participating in the late fall online courses, contact the AACC Center on Aging at 410-777-2941 or e-mail Portis at For information on Civic Ventures, visit For information on the Deerbrook Trust, a private foundation whose mission is to provide individuals with opportunities for a better education, a stronger family, a healthier life and a more secure future, visit