Eularee Smith
Writer & Educator

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Fifty Plus Project

I was recently contacted by the Small Business Development Center to work on curriculum development at our local community college. The Plus Project is a grant based program to help re-tool age fifty and over community members for the job market.

Specifically we will be working on the training and education of twenty people over the age of 50. The grant is from AARP and includes a partnership with Enterprise Contact Center and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. With a diverse topic list from Communication Skills to Keyboarding, the project will train 20 students over the course of 8 weeks for a total of 150 hours. This project is funded for a year, allowing for 20 new participants in each of the six 8 week terms. 

This 8 week training provides participants with industry-recognized skills for becoming telephone reservation sales representatives. The skills learned through this training will be transportable to any call center company, as well as hundreds of clerical and customer service related occupations.

Participants will also be provided with textbooks, classroom materials and financial planning coaches. The funding for the PLUS+ Project is through an AARP Foundation grant. Lane Community College, in Eugene, OR is one of 14 recipients of the grant award. The end result for these participants is a guaranteed interview with local employers from Enterprise and Royal Caribbean. A big foot in the door.

This is such a wonderful opportunity for those of us over 50, one of the largest unemployed groups. With the new mandates for community colleges to help in the re-training of displaced workers, this is a good fit for this demographic. 

Check your local community college for similar opportunities. We are a generation of who has always prided itself on being able to think out of the box. More and more I find boomers starting over, new careers, marriages, starting new businesses or creatively jump starting old businesses. Looking ahead to what we can do, rather than living in regret about the loss of a job. 

I look forward to working with this project and I am excited at what it will accomplish. Let me know if you know or find other resources to share with our fellow boomers.

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