It's Back to School for Older Workers
Many seniors embark on new careers or opt to keep their jobs beyond retirement age, whether out of financial necessity or a desire to keep active. Either way, the decision likely means going back to school to earn a degree or learn skills needed to become a competitive player in the ever-evolving work market.
In response, institutions for higher learning -- particularly community colleges -- are either revamping or revising educational programs to meet the growing demand.
And demand is growing significantly. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Education, the number of seniors enrolled in job-related post-secondary education has grown significantly over the past two decades.
Community colleges in particular have a mandate to provide work force training. While their programs continue to be open to qualified students of any age, administrators for at least some community colleges are beginning to get more aggressive about targeting older students bent on returning to, or maintaining a presence in, the work force.
"It's a growing trend," says Norma Kent, spokeswoman for the American Association of Community Colleges. "We did a study in conjunction with AARP that identified between 20 and 30 colleges that now have more ambitious programs specifically addressing the older population."