What is the 50+ Encore program at Whatcom Community College?

Our nation faces a demographic revolution as 78 million baby boomers enter their retirement years. With the growing number of age 50+ community members, Whatcom Community College has taken on an initiative to ensure this segment of our community has the services and resources it needs to pursue educational opportunities and/or re-career.

Whatcom is committed to supporting age 50+ students and community members by staying up to date on needs, issues, and events that are relevant to this population.

Many of these students are seeking an "encore career," one into which individuals transition after age 50, seeking to use their personal or professional passions for a positive social purpose while earning a paycheck. Forecasts predict that five fields will seek large numbers of employees in the coming years and will value the assets, experience and talent of the age 50+ workforce:

  • Healthcare
  • K-12 education
  • Social services
  • Government
  • Emerging
  • Green jobs

For more information on encore careers go to www.encore.org or visit WCC's Career Center to view the encore careers binder.


The Encore Program

WCC has established the Encore Program. It includes:

  • Encore advisory committee
  • 50+ student success services
  • 50+ learning and support community
  • Online Wiki community


Encore advisory committee

Encore integrates education and resources to inform, guide and respond to the unique needs, spirit and experiences of the diverse age 50+ community. Encore recognizes the 50+ population has much to offer through their collective body of work, talent and dedication through outreach and services to the College and the greater community. Encore advisory committee members come from many parts of the Whatcom County community and meet quarterly.


50+ student success services

Support services are available to 50+ students through advising, the career & transfer center, College campus and community outreach, including connecting students interested in WCC's many professional-technical programs. Customized workshops, presentations, and outreach are provided to accommodate the needs of our 50+ student population. Efforts are being made to increase awareness of the benefits to hiring 50+ workers. Assessments are conducted to determine needs of 50+ students on campus.


50+ learning and support community

In addition to the many excellent support services already offered on the WCC campus, a support and learning community has been established specifically for this group of students.

The 24/7 online support page created for the 50+ student (through Wiki) contains resource information as well as an FAQ section aimed at helping the 50+ student. It is flexible and holds the possibility of creating online space (through Wiki) for students wanting to enhance their presence among their peers without necessarily meeting face-to-face. Students over 50 years of age attending WCC and other regional institutions may join the community. Accounts are free. 50+ students meet regularly to plan events that will help the age 50+ student succeed on campus and in their planned future.


Thanks to our partners for 50+ engagement

  • Encore College Initiative Grant, academic year 2010-11, funded by: Civic Ventures, a think-tank on age 50+ issues and trends, and Deerbrook Charitable Trust.
  • WCC Career Center and Cooperative Education Staff
  • WCC Worker Retraining Program
  • WCC Turning Point: Life Transitions Program