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Western Dakota Tech joins Plus 50 initiative

Resource type: News

Rapid City Journal |

Original Source

Western Dakota Tech has been selected as one of 15 two-year colleges to participate in an initiative to get older adults back to school and prepared for opportunities in work and community service.

As part of the Plus 50 Initiative,” the school will help develop models for innovative programs reaching out to students over age 50. The project is funded with a $3.2 million grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies and is led by the American Association of Community Colleges.

WDT will partner with the region’s national parks to help retirees explore opportunities as park volunteers as well as receive classroom and field training to become qualified applicants for seasonal jobs as park guides and interpretive rangers. WDT’s partners include Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park, Minuteman National Historic Site, Jewel Cave National Monument and Wind Cave National Park.

WDT provides practical training for jobs in western South Dakota, interim president Rick Gray said. We are proud to partner with the National Park Service to train those who are plus-50 for interesting job opportunities.”

Paige Baker, superintendent of Badlands National Park, said the program will benefit the national attractions and those who participate in the training.

The program will provide opportunities to experience the National Park Service and explore the possibilities for volunteer and seasonal employment, Baker said. What better job is there? You can rediscover your national parks by working there.

WDT and its National Park Service partners will develop the training schedule during the upcoming months, with plans to launch the training program in spring 2009. While the training will not guarantee employment, park officials said it will make successful participants more competitive for seasonal positions.

The program aims to provide opportunities for baby boomers as well as provide a reliable work force for employers and civic organizations that are worried about a loss of skills, leadership and institutional memory.

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American Association of Community Colleges, Plus 50 Initiative