GCC to train baby boomers in home care aid with grant
GREENFIELD — Greenfield Community College will use a new $15,000 grant to develop a home care aide instructional program for people 50 and older.
GCC is one of 100 colleges and universities across the country that are part of a grant-funded effort to train 10,000 baby boomers in new jobs. The American Association of Community Colleges is targeting high-demand occupations that give back to the community, including health care, education and social services.
The college already offers a personal and home care aide training program, which teaches students how to assist individuals with activities of daily living (like bathing and dressing) and home management.
This grant will allow the college to improve the program, with the help of the Franklin County Home Care Corp. and the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, to help baby boomers find jobs. College administrators will also adapt the program so it meets standards needed for students to receive state certifications.
Robert Barba, the college’s dean of community education, said that the college chose to focus on home health aides first because of demand. In GCC’s grant application, the college wrote that a federal report found that over half of the country’s home health aides are over the age of 45.
The 60-hour, noncredit course will cost $600 and will be offered sometime next spring, said Barba. About 20 people can enroll in each class, and Barba said demand will determine just how many sections the college offers next year.
Home Care Executive Director Roseann Martoccia said that her organization will promote and refer people to the program. The grant also provides new marketing tools and resources that the college can use.
Then, the college will work with both Home Care and the regional employment board to help connect program graduates with jobs.
“Adults over 50 are a growing population in our region,” said GCC President Robert Pura. “Aligning their employment training opportunities with area employer work force gaps aligns with our college mission to serve the diverse educational needs of this community.”
All schools were awarded $7,500 in the first year and will receive $7,500 again next year if the program succeeds, said Mary Sue Vickers, director of the Plus 50 Initiative at American Association at Community Colleges.
She said that the program is focused on jobs in health care, education and social services because older people seeking a new career gravitate toward jobs that help people in the community.
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