COD Joins Project to Train 10,000 Baby Boomers for New Jobs

College of DuPage was recently chosen to join the Plus 50 Encore Completion Program, a national effort to train 10,000 baby boomers for new jobs in health care, education and social services. The program is sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

COD will assist adults age 50 and over in completing degrees or certificates in high-demand careers that give back to the community. With many adults in this age bracket out of work or seeking to transition to a new career, this program offers skills updates and career makeovers for growing occupations such as hemodialysis technology, dental assisting, medical transcription, pharmacy technology, massage therapy, project management, and CDL commercial truck driving.

"The educational needs and interests of adults are changing. More than ever, baby boomers are looking to continue their contributions to their families and communities while continuing their own growth," said Joe Cassidy, COD Dean, Continuing Education/Extended Learning. "We continue to see an increasing number of adult students retooling, updating skills and exploring their passion for new career paths. The Plus 50 Encore Completion Program will help us meet the evolving educational needs of these students while extending the College's mission of serving as a center for excellence in teaching and learning for students of all ages."

COD Program Specialist Melissa Fanella will work with baby boomers and assist them in selecting the short-term career training that best match their interests. Fanella will also provide coaching throughout the program process, connecting trainees with local employers. Fanella and her team will use the Plus 50 planning and implementation guide (C-Pad) to leverage College resources in support of this important demographic.

"We know that 50-plus sector brings to the workplace years of experience and transferable skills that are an asset to any organization," Fanella said. "Our job is to provide support and guidance while these future employees create their next professional experience."

In addition to providing grant funds that augment college workforce training programs, Plus 50 Encore Completion colleges have access to toolkits and extensive marketing resources tailored to reach baby boomers. They also benefit from the advice and support of staff at other community colleges that have successfully implemented programs for older learners and understand the unique needs of the plus 50 student population.

The Plus 50 Encore Completion Program is funded with a $3.2-million grant to AACC provided by Deerbrook Charitable Trust. The Plus 50 Encore Completion program supports AACC's work to increase the number of students who finish degrees, certificates, and other credentials.  In April 2010, AACC committed alongside other higher education organizations to promote the development and implementation of policies, practices and institutional cultures that will produce 50 percent more students with high quality degrees and certificates by 2020.

For more information about the Plus 50 Initiative at College of DuPage, please contact Melissa Fanella at (630) 942-2067 or For more information about the nationwide program developed by AACC, visit

Among the state's public colleges and universities, College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill., serves more than 28,000 students each term and is the second largest provider of undergraduate education in Illinois after University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Association of Community Colleges is the leading advocacy organization representing more than to 1,100 community, junior and technical colleges nationwide. Community colleges are the largest and fastest growing sector of higher education, enrolling 13.4 million credit and non-credit students each year. Learn more at