Sustainability Center tailors course for students 55+

The MCC Sustainability Training Center, a program funded by the Department of Labor to help unemployed and underemployed residents of KC’s Green Impact Zone and other parts of Jackson County get back to work, has taken on a new audience: older adults.

The Sustainability Center has customized a course in partnership with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to target students aged 55 and older.  Twelve participants began the customer contact professional course this week. The course, which runs through June 18, teaches call center basics including call center operations, customer service, communications, and technology training.

The tailoring of the course takes into consideration that older adults who have a great deal of workplace experience have different needs and expectations for a job training course than other participants might. The primary difference is that classroom focus has been shifted away from soft skills (e.g. employability, academic assistance) to technology training.  The customized course will also feature shorter class periods so students can have two hours per day to practice typing and transferring calls.

A major difference between older, possibly retired, adults and a younger demographic is their ultimate goal. Younger students often need assistance finding a career path that works for them. Retirees are very clear: they want a part-time job to help supplement their income or a full-time position to secure health insurance benefits.

“They are interested and focused. They know what they want, which is a tremendous advantage. They are here with a clear objective,” said Dr. Manuel Solano, program director.

Representatives from two employers, MIO Logistics and Prescription Solutions, are scheduled to meet the class and conduct interviews. Prescription Solutions anticipates 50 positions opening that will allow employees to work from home, an arrangement that is ideal for older adults.

The demand for job training in the 55+ community is high, Solano said. Over 30 students applied for the course but needed additional support, particularly in basic computer skills. These students were referred to MCC’s Public Computer Centers, a community resource that provides free computer skills training and open lab time, to complete digital literacy training, and are encouraged to re-apply at the Sustainability Center.

MCC continues to collaborate with AARP on other training opportunities.

For more information about the Sustainability Center, please contact Jamie King at 816-604-1172.