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Student Stories

Plus 50 students across the nation come from different walks of life but they all have one thing in common: the Plus 50 Initiative has changed their lives. Some students came to campuses to re-skill for changing career demands, pursue new employment opportunities, or to give back to their communities, while others take classes to enrich their lives and re-invent themselves. The Plus 50 Initiative has captured their experiences and compiled a rich anthology of student stories. Hear from the plus 50 students themselves to see if the Plus 50 Initiative is right for you.

A Plus 50 Student Lives in the Dorm, Earns a Nursing Degree
Corrine Ternes, a plus 50 nursing student at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, North Dakota, shares about her experiences going back to school to earn a degree later in life. She discusses living in the dormitory as a nontraditional student, what college life is like for her, and what led her to pursue a career in nursing. 

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A Pharmacy Technician Speaks About Opportunities
Curt Bielski, pharmacy technician student at Ivy Tech Community College discusses his coursework in this video."I felt going into this, being a baby boomer in this present economy, I was looking for something viable, short-term, to be able to get back into the job market and have a gainful employed job," said Bielski.

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From Laid Off to an Aerospace Composite Technician Program
Michael Wright, a plus 50 student at Clover Park Technical College, talks about the  aerospace composite technician program and his experiences going back to college at age 50 plus. It's a six month course with three months of mathematics instruction and three months with hands-on training.

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Going to School is a Sharp Turn, But Learning is for Life
Plus 50 student Juanita Blackshear discusses why she likes attending St. Louis Community College. An instructor inspired Juanita to consider becoming a life coach and is helping her think through what that career path entails. 

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The Plus 50 Program Was the Catalyst For Me
"I really appreciated the Plus 50 program, it was the catalyst for me to get out of the state of confusion I was in," said John Hanson, in this video from St. Louis Community College. After he retired from his job and left a successful career, Hanson was trying to figure out what to do next in the next chapter of his life.

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Plus 50 Student Soars at Cape Cod Community College
For plus 50 student Neil Tanger, Cape Cod Community College is a friendly and accessible place. He says that the instructors really care about student learning.

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A Plus 50 Student Gains Confidence
Going back to school at age 50 plus may seem daunting. But Cape Cod Community College student Elizabeth Alexander says she likes the fact that she found "a community" when she arrived at community college.

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A Second Career in Nursing at Cape Cod Community College
First year nursing student Thomas Trego says that going back to school at age 50 plus was easy. He's planning a second career in nursing, and says, "If you are thinking about changing career directions, this is a great opportunity to do it."

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Excited About Learning at Clark College
Plus 50 student Gloria Webster talks about taking a class at Clark College and how excited she is about learning. She enjoys that the college is smaller and conveniently located. She said she would recommend it to anyone who wants to continue their education.

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Re-Inventing a Career at Plus 50
Gale Harral talks about taking classes at Clark College and pursuing an associate's degree in applied science. Harral is training to become a medical office specialist and says that she likes working in an office environment. She previously worked as a supervisor for 17 years in manufacturing and is re-inventing her career because she needs to continue working for an additional 10-20 years.

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Computer Training for a New Job
Ken McDougall says his experience at Community Colleges of Spokane now as a plus 50 adult, is very different from his schooling earlier in life. He likes the computer training courses he's taking at the college because they are self-paced.

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Unemployed: Getting Re-Trained
Plus 50 student Karin Ball talks about attending the Community Colleges of Spokane. When Ball lost her job during the economic recession, she went to the unemployment office and was referred to an AARP program that partners with the college to help re-train older workers.

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Computer Skills Training at Community College
Plus 50 student Patt Walker says she enjoyed meeting people her age and younger people too, when she attended courses at the Community Colleges of Spokane. She said her instructors were "amazing" and answered her questions, even if she had to ask them more than once. Walker took courses in Quick Books and Microsoft Office to get up to date. She is hoping to find employment with the new skills she has gained in a short time at the college.

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Going to Community College in Spokane
Plus 50 student Allyson Morris talks about attending the Community Colleges of Spokane and says her instructors are very helpful. She said that even though everyone in the plus 50 computer course is at different comprehension levels, the atmosphere in the classroom encourages everyone to grow and learn.

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Grateful to be a Student at Joliet Junior College
Don Nurczyk likes attending Joliet Junior College, where is pursuing a certificate in air conditioning and heating. He is also taking courses in Microsoft Office. He's found getting back into "studying mode" challenging, but it's not impossible.

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You Never Stop Learning at Clark College
Diane Johnston went back to school to learn about computer programming and how to be a network administrator. The flexibility of the community college schedule helped her fit her courses into her busy schedule alongside a full-time job.

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Prepare for Your Next Job
Terry Bloome knows unemployment is coming his way, so he decided to upgrade his skills now so he's ready to get a new job. He enjoys taking computer courses at Joliet Junior College and says that other students and instructors have helped him feel comfortable at college.

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Re-Inventing YourSelf After Downsizing
Susan Martin came to Joliet Junior College after getting downsized from her job in real estate. Initially, she worked toward a human resource certification. She was initially nervous about going back to school, but she found an accepting environment at the college.

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Starting New Job After Retirement
Jack Hansen works as an interpretive guide and law enforcement worker for the National Park Service. The National Park Service has a partnership with Western Dakota Technical Institute training plus 50 adults to become interpretive guides and park rangers.  

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Bouncing Back from Downsizing
Dave Ballaker, age 53, discusses bouncing back from being downsized, with the help of the plus 50 program at Luzerne County Community College. He thinks the training provided at the college will help him find work and notes that other students have found jobs.

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Re-Training for Counseling at STLCC
Rick Flannagan lost his job at Chrysler when the company closed offices in St. Louis. He admits - it was scary to think about starting over and going back to school. He is training for a career to help others as a drug and alcohol rehabilitation counselor.

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After the Layoff: Getting Help
Randi Ross-Quick was laid off from her job. She looked at her 20-year-old resume and knew she needed some tips and suggestions so she could find a new job. She turned to the Plus 50 Initiative at Richland College for help. 

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Prepping for Career Changes at Age 50
Plus 50 student Bob Timme is thinking about making a career transition. He found help at Richland College in planning for a job change.

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Upgrading Skills Builds Confidence
Joan Wagner talks about enrolling at Joliet Junior College after spending 12 years as a caregiver. She originally came to the college to attend its free resume and job assessment class. She has taken a number of computer courses to get her skills up to date, and is thinking about getting a certificate.

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Go For It, Says Plus 50 Student
Barbara Patty says that affordability and convenience are what led her to College of Central Florida. She is pursuing a certificate as a childcare professional. She finds it challenging to go to school and work full-time, but says taking it one day at a time makes it easier.

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Satisfied Student at STLCC
Mary Meyer began attending St. Louis Community College (STLCC) after her children went away to college. Getting back into a study routine was tough for her. Initially, she was uncomfortable about being a non-traditionally aged student on campus. In spite of these challenges, Mary says going to community college is one of the best things she has ever done in her life.

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Worker Goes to Century College
Plus 50 student Barbara Licht has an Associate's degree in human services from Century College and is taking coursework in health and general education courses to prepare for a four-year college degree program. She found the GPS Life Plan staff, counseling for plus 50 students, and admissions office at the college extremely helpful.

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Exploring Career Directions
Wendy Frese came to Richland College as she began to work through what her next steps in life might be. She needs to decide if she will continue in her long-standing career in education or move to a new field.

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Getting Ready: Job Transitions
The Plus 50 Initiative workshop taken by Bob Marlow at Richland College in Dallas, Texas has helped him find new direction for his career. He highly recommends the workshop to others and encourages everyone to consider taking the time needed to ponder next steps when going through a life transition.

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Being Older Doesn't Matter at College, Says Plus 50 Student
Francesca Mastrangero came to Clark College to work on her GED. She is taking pre-requisites for a program that will lead to a career in health care and a job that she likes

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More student stories  >>