But, where does this program go from here?
Based on the program's progress so far and the great work that Mary Sue Vickers and her team at the Plus 50 Initiative at the American Association of Community Colleges
have done so far, the future looks even brighter for even more expansion across the nation.
As promised, I wrote some letters to the key organizations (The Lumina Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies and a third organization that requested to remain "low profile") involved in funding these initiatives to explore how far reaching their commitments to Baby Boomer educational programs are.
Not surprisingly all three responded quickly and with an abundance of positive information.
It appears that the center of activity revolves around the ACCN or "Adult College Completion Network."
There is an extensive network of community colleges, civic organizations, educational groups and philanthropic entities (like the Lumina Foundation and The Atlantic Philanthropies) working together in furthering this intricate system of adult education.
There is a "Project Warehouse" where best practices are shared and proven efforts are built upon helping ACCN members to expand their knowledge, engage with one another, and explore new ideas and promising practices to better serve this population.
The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) facilitates the work of the Network with funding from Lumina Foundation.
The Network includes 19 projects currently funded by Lumina as part of its long-term commitment to adult college completion, but is open to all.
The "tour de force" program we have been discussing at length committed to advancing higher education for Baby Boomer adults.
The Southern Regional Education Board is establishing the Adult Learner Portal as a clearinghouse of degree completion programs, supported by services and information adults can use in considering a return to college.
Description: The portal will provide a single-entry point for adults to learn more about returning to college and other information that will help them decide which programs are most appropriate to their needs. The portal will be beta-tested in 2013 within the Southern region, then launched in the future as a national service. Marketing/recruitment campaigns will support the regional and national roll outs. With more than 50 million working-age adults having some college credit but no degree, the portal is expected to serve a large population. Given the online focus of programs in the portal, geography need not be a barrier or a major consideration for adult learners. A key benefit of this effort will be the cost savings to states, which will not need to develop adult learner portals given the availability of the national portal.
Jobs for the Future (JFF) is advancing a supportive state policy framework to increase adult completion rates in occupational-technical credential programs.
Description: JFF, with partnering community college systems in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Michigan, is advancing a supportive state policy framework to increase adult completion rates in occupational-technical credential programs. This work builds on JFF’s national partnership with the National Council for Workforce Education in the Breaking Through initiative. Via Breaking Through, which is rooted in practice improvements at the community college level, community college networks in a few states are focusing on using institutional redesign to serve returning adult students seeking occupational or technical credentials. This project will enable a network of community colleges in three states to advance policy conditions that will boost credential completion by these adults.
LearningCounts.org is an innovative Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) service portal dedicated to helping adults earn credit for their college-level learning acquired outside of the traditional college classroom (such as training, open educational resources, MOOCs, work experience). In 2010, with data from 48 post-secondary institutions and more than 62,000 adult learners, CAEL found that students with PLA credit had better academic outcomes, particularly in terms of graduation rates and persistence, than other adult students (Klein-Collins, 2011).
This project is helping four states incorporate an online learning degree completion service mode into their workforce and education systems.
Description: The project builds on the Workforce Online Learning Information Portal (WOLIP), an online learning portal to provide degree attainment to Workforce Investment Act (WIA) clients. States will identify WIA clients who are three to 12 credits away from a degree. Post secondary training will be delivered through the Electronic Campus of the Southern Regional Education Board. The project will create new partnerships and articulation agreements with community colleges and universities to expand offerings on the existing portal that will facilitate transfer credits for WIA clients close to degree completion.
New organizations, community college systems, government offices and financial supporters are joining every month.
If you want to dig in further to research what information and programs are available in your area just click on this link:
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Contact your local community college system to see what programs they are involved in.
If they have yet to engage the "Plus 50 Initiatives" or are not members of the ACCN then send them the links to this information.
Get them on board.
There is also a myriad of financial resources you can pursue including private grants available specifically targeted to our Baby Boomer students.
We'll talk more about them tomorrow.
If you have a success story about yourself or someone you know successfully utilizing the ACCN programs or Plus 50 Initiative please share them with us.
Please forward it to them or tell them about it by clicking on the Google "G+1" and the FaceBook "Like" buttons.
The more Baby Boomers we can help the better place we make this world !!!
Thanks for joining me..........................................................