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AACC's Plus 50 Initiative publishes and disseminates research and reports about community colleges' programs to engage the 50+ learner. The Plus 50 Initiative offers electronic versions of its print publications available for download.


Plus 50 Program Manual
American Association of Community Colleges, November 2015
Students age 50 and up are not like traditional college students. To successfully deliver programs for baby boomers at community colleges, program managers need to understand the special needs and perspectives this “older” student population brings to campus. This manual brings together the learnings of AACC’s Plus 50 Initiative between 2008 and 2015. It offers road-tested and proven advice on what works when designing, implementing and managing a program for baby boomers at community colleges. A chapter on readiness focuses on building a team to support a Plus 50 program, establishing an advisory committee, and leveraging community resources. Needs assessment is the focus of another chapter that suggests ways to examine what types of programs would meet the needs of potential Plus 50 students. A chapter on program development helps staff focus their ideas and define what the program will look like and how it will operate, and helps you think about topics like offering credit for prior learning and information on financial aid. Marketing strategy, budgeting, and action plan finalization are all part of another chapter. Continuous improvement, utilizing data for reporting and program enhancement, is the focus of another chapter. While the manual provides detailed guidance, it is never meant to be prescriptive. Since 2008, the initiative has seen college after college take the model and run, tailoring it to their local context. Links are provided to a wide variety of resources to assist community colleges in designing and tailoring a Plus 50 program that meets their community’s needs.









Plus 50 Programs in Practice: How AACC’s Plus 50 Initiative is Helping Community Colleges Transform Programs and Services for Adults Age 50 and Over 
American Association of Community Colleges, January 2015
AACC’s Plus 50 Initiative supports community colleges in creating and expanding campus programs engaging students age 50 and over, while encouraging them to complete high-quality credentials or degrees. Since 2008, the program has given grants to 138 community colleges, who collectively enrolled 37,494 plus 50 students in workforce development programs. The program’s impact on students has been significant, with 12,192 baby boomers completing a degree or certificate since 2010-2011. This publication tells the story of the initiative from 2008 to 2014 and examines how the program has evolved over time. Evaluators discuss in the publication how the initiative has impacted how community colleges serve students age 50 and over, how participating in the program has changed the lives of baby boomers, and how the initiative has sought to refine and replicate its learnings. One of the more interesting elements in the publication, is how the program nimbly repositioned itself during its early years. As the Great Recession led thousands of older workers to seek job training at community colleges, the Plus 50 Initiative retooled from a broader approach to focusing heavily on workforce training. That commitment to supporting plus 50 adults seeking job skills and training stuck with the initiative as it focused in its later years on certificate and degree completion. Community college program managers, leaders and faculty will find this publication to be a useful resource for understanding the initiative and will be inspired by the program highlights and quotes from students who participated.

Plus 50 Formative Evaluation Toolkit
American Association of Community Colleges, March 2013
Evaluation data can help community colleges improve programs, make decisions, earn support, and demonstrate results. This toolkit is designed to help community college program managers improve their programs serving plus 50 adults. It includes a variety of tools and a road map for evaluation efforts. To help you start off on the right foot, it offers advice on how to organize and prepare for an evaluation. Tips on data collection and gathering stakeholder feedback will help get the information you truly need. The toolkit includes advice on how to reflect on your evaluation findings and share them. It also offers links to electronic files and spreadsheets that can streamline your evaluation efforts and help you substantively improve your program.



Plus 50 Students: Tapping Into a Growing Market
American Association of Community Colleges, March, 2013
Plus 50 students are increasingly turning to community colleges for quick job skill refreshers and career tune-ups. This publication describes what is drawing plus 50 students to community colleges and provides tips on effectively serving them.

The Plus 50 Initiative Evaluation: Initiative Impact
American Association of Community Colleges, January 2012
This 29-page report summarizes the growth and development of AACC's Plus 50 Initiative from 2008 through 2011. Working in partnership with community colleges across the country to improve programs and services for plus 50 students, evaluators found that the initiative touched thousands of lives and improved college programs serving adults age 50 and up. More than 1,000 workforce training courses targeting plus 50 adults hard hit by the recession, were added by colleges. Seventy-two percent of participating plus 50 students agreed that these workforce training programs have helped them get hired for a job. By identifying best practices and nurturing sustainability, the Plus 50 Initiative has had a lasting impact on colleges across the country, and is now poised for future growth. 


The Plus 50 Initiative: Standards of Excellence
American Association of Community Colleges, October 2010
The Plus 50 Initiative Standards of Excellence are guidelines for community colleges on the essential, core program elements that need to be in place for a Plus 50 program to succeed and become sustainable.  This publication contains guidelines that community colleges can reference as they innovate and grow their own programming for plus 50 learners.

Plus 50 Business Community Outreach Toolkit
American Association of Community Colleges, November 17, 2009
This toolkit is designed to support community colleges in building partnerships with the business community. It includes a series of fact sheets for employers that discuss the value in hiring plus 50 workers.

Plus 50 Needs Assessment Toolkit
American Association of Community Colleges, October 2, 2009
This toolkit was developed to help community colleges conduct a needs assessment for the purposes of developing workforce training and career development programming for their local Plus 50 population. It provides a menu of options for data collection strategies.

American Association of Community Colleges, December 15, 2010
The Plus 50 Initiative is conducted by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to benchmark and showcase the most current and innovative programs at community colleges to engage the 50+ learner.

Educating Plus 50 Learners: Opportunities for Community Colleges – March 2009: State of Community College Plus 50 Programs Nationwide
American Association of Community Colleges, March, 2009
A survey conducted for the AACC's Plus 50 Initiative examines the state of community college plus 50 programs nationwide, as well as plans for their expansion.

Educating Plus 50 Learners: Opportunities for Community Colleges - Executive Summary: State of Community College Plus 50 Programs Nationwide
American Association of Community Colleges, March, 2009
Community colleges were asked to report on their existing and planned programming for plus 50 students. The Executive Summary highlights survey findings.