Friday, September 14, 2012

What Are Plus 50 Unemployed People to Do? Possible Retraining Courses of Action

A few weeks ago I got a heartfelt comment from an over 50, unemployed anonoymous person who was between a rock and a hard place.  He or she pointed out that many scholarships and financial assistance programs are not set up for people over 50, or for people who have suffered a sudden reversal of fortune--say, who were thrown out of work and don't have time for that loss of income to be reflected in their FAFSA documents.  What are such people to do?

I didn't have a very good answer at the time, except for commisseration, which isn't much of an answer at all.  I could have linked to other entries on money for retraining, which would have been better.  But this week, I was turned on to another possible avenue of help.

It seems that Owens College near Toledo has been chosen as one of the recipients of a grant from the Plus 50 Initiative, which is a program by the American Association of Community Colleges to broaden educational opportunities for baby boomers.  The goal of the Plus 50 Encore Completion Program, a part of the program, "aims to help 10,000 baby boomers earn high-value degrees or certificates in key fields that give back (education, healthcare, social services) by 2014."  Right now, Owens College's program consists of a reduced-cost program to help people prepare for the job search and overcome work barriers.  It will expand in the near future to programs that will help potential workers over 50 to prepare for careers in these three areas, with emphasis on high-demand careers.  For Toledo-area boomers interested in the program, call Gary Corrigan at 567-661-7455.

If you're not in Toledo, you can check out your nearest community college to see if they are part of the Plus 50 Initiative.  The Plus 50 link above listed some of the original participating community colleges, but a distressing number of links are dead.  If you call your local community college, ask for the department dealing with continuing education, or for the Plus 50 program.  They may have a lower-cost program dedicated to helping you recareer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello - very much enjoy your blog! Here's some updates on "free" education money that might interest you. FAFSA does indeed use an applicant's previous year's tax return to make financial aid decisions BUT the decisions (usually "turndowns") can be appealed with the information about the applicant's current status. This requires "lead time" so a prospective student for Fall 2013 should begin the process no later than January 2013 - because by April 2013 the grants, need scholarships and federal loan availability will largely already be spoken for. SECOND beware of the "Plus" programs, not all are good. In my area (Oregon) the "Plus" program only gets you trained for and then employed in a minimum wage/part-time call center job - few people's idea of gainful employment - a minimum wage part time (20-30 hours) job isn't even a decent "survival" job. THIRD - in some states there is a federal continuing education grant offered through a state's unemployment department twice yearly, limited awards. Next one is in November 2012 so unemployed folks check with your state unemployment office to see if you can apply. IMPORTANT to do this ASAP, these grants are VERY limited and not at all well publicized - seek them out, they won't come get you!