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Clark College News and Events



Plus 50 Initiative logo

August 15, 2008
For Immediate Release
For additional information: 
Barbara Kerr, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
Telephone:
360-992-2921
E-mail:  bkerr@clark.edu

EMBRACING HISTORY TO MAKE HISTORY

Clark College, one of five U.S. mentor colleges in the new Plus 50 Initiative, welcomes educational leaders with a visit to Fort Vancouver
and a focus on history, tourism and second careers for older workers

 

VANCOUVER, Wash. – A visit to Fort Vancouver may result in second careers for baby boomers in South Dakota.  On Tuesday, August 26, Clark College will welcome leaders of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and Western Dakota Technical Institute (WDTI) as part of the national Plus 50 Initiative, which was created to support baby boomers as they take the next step toward their lives beyond traditional retirement age.  

National statistics indicate that 10 thousand baby boomers are turning 62 years old every day in 2008. If all of them were to leave the workforce, the baby boomers could send the already struggling U.S. economy into the throes of a severe labor shortage. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that the country will be short 10 million skilled workers by 2011.

Nationally, Clark College has been designated as one of just five mentor colleges in the new program.  As a mentor college, Clark will support efforts by WDTI, located in Rapid City, S.D., to develop and pilot a national training model for baby boomers who want to become seasonal rangers and interpretive guides at national parks.

 

To support that goal, the college has invited Kim Morey, Director of WDTI’s Plus 50 Initiative, to visit Fort Vancouver and the Vancouver Historic Reserve.  They will be accompanied by AACC representatives Mary Sue Vickers and Katya Nekrasova who serve, respectively, as Executive Director and Program Associate for the national Plus 50 Initiative.

The host for the visit, which will take place from 10-11 a.m., will be Clark College President Robert K. Knight, whose last duty in the U.S. Army was serving as Commander of the Vancouver Barracks.   Elson Strahan, President and CEO of the Vancouver Historic Reserve, and Tracy Fortmann, Fort Vancouver Park Superintendent, will accompany the group. WDTI’s Kim Morey is a retired Air Force captain. 

Tracy Reilly-Kelly, Plus 50 Initiative Director at Clark College, notes that “Rapid City is home to Ellsworth Air Force Base and many ex-military retirees.  In addition, the areas hosts scenic wonders including Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse monument, the Badlands and the Black Hills. Western Dakota Technical Institute is creating a training program for the National Park Service to attract seasoned, seasonal workers for the diverse park programs and concessions – people age 50 and above who looking for the kind of part-time second career that will be the hallmark of the plus 50 Baby Boomer generation in years to come.”

In all, the AACC and WDTI visitors will spend three days at Clark College with a focus on the college’s proposed programs for the next three years. As a mentor college, Clark College will redesign its small business development curriculum to offer second careers through business ownership at a wine and cooking school for wine hobbyists and food enthusiasts.  In addition, the college will partner with the Southwest Washington Agency on Aging to train in-home caregivers.

About the Plus 50 Initiative

The AACC Plus 50 Initiative is a 3.5 year effort to identify a pilot group of two-year institutions that will create or expand campus programs to engage the 50+ population in learning; training/re-training programs; and/or volunteer, civic, service activities. The initiative is funded by a $3.2 million grant to AACC from The Atlantic Philanthropies. AACC provided sub-grants to member colleges selected through a competitive grant process. This comprises grants of up to $70,000 (total over three years) to five Mentor Colleges and grants of up to $40,000 (total over 3 years) to 10 Demonstration Colleges.

Mentor colleges are AACC member colleges that have well-defined programs to serve the 50+ population. These programs are discrete and have identifiable recruitment and outreach activities to engage the 50+ population. Mentor Colleges have two objectives during the 3-year grant period: 1) to expand or refine their existing programs, 2) to provide program guidance and support to and collaborate with 2 AACC designated Demonstration Colleges. Mentor Colleges will identify a Plus 50 team comprising a program director and a program associate who will implement Plus 50 activities at their own college and serve as liaison to the Demonstration Colleges. A plan for sustainability after the three-year grant period is required.

As a mentor college, Clark College will redesign its small business development curriculum to offer second careers through business ownership at a wine and cooking school for wine hobbyists and food enthusiasts.  In addition, a joint program with the Area Agency on Aging will train in-home caregivers.

Demonstration colleges are AACC member colleges that have not yet developed or are in the early stages of developing a Plus 50 program. They have a specific and strategic plan for program development in collaboration with an AACC designated Mentor College. Demonstration colleges have expressed authorization/support from their college CEO to develop the Plus 50 program. The college will identify a Plus 50 team comprising a program director and a program associate who will implement Plus 50 activities at their own college and serve as liaison to the mentor college. A plan for sustainability after the 3-year grant period is required.

Clark College will mentor two demonstration colleges.  Western Dakota Technical Institute, located in Rapid City, S. D., will develop and pilot a national training model for baby boomers who want to become seasonal rangers and interpretive guides at national parks.  Chaffey Community College, located in Cucamonga, Calif., will start a new program for baby boomer volunteers to mentor and tutor under-prepared students and help them be successful in college.

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