AARP Texas and The Graduate! Network have launched an initiative to let older Texans know that it’s never too late to come back to education.
The partnership is helping present education opportunities for adults in Texas to complete a GED, attain a college certificate, or a college degree.
In Texas, there are more than 6 million adults over the age of 45 who have started but not completed their degree requirements. There are another 1.8 million or more who could benefit from completing a GED, high school equivalency or a short-term, post-secondary credential.
Pursuing education credentials can provide these "Texas Comebackers" with the opportunity to connect to a job that's in demand, start a new career or finish a long-held personal goal.
It’s no secret that American businesses are having difficulty finding workers with the skills they need to fill jobs in demand. At the same time, American workers are finding they are not able to move up in their company or secure a higher-wage job because they lack the credentials or degree required.
Help is available.
Join the AARP Texas Ambassadors in learning about the unique opportunity paths available to all Texans. Specifically, Ambassadors are helping Texas achieve the 60X30TX plan established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to increase educational attainment. Older adults can be a key asset to Texas in achieving this goal.
In Texas, there are three opportunity pathways.
Opportunity Pathway 1: For adults without a high school diploma or equivalency, there's opportunity to earn a high school equivalency, such as a HiSET, GED or high school diploma.
● Identify where testing is available.
○ Texas Education Agency (TEA): Explore a list of testing center locations available across the state. Visit the TEA website at: https://tea.texas.gov/student-assessment/certificate-of-high-school-equivalency/certificate-of-high-school-equivalency-information
● Prepare for the exam.
○ Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy & Learning (TCALL): Explore exam preparation and English as a Second Language programs by county at: https://tcall.tamu.edu/counties.aspx
Opportunity Pathway 2: For adults with a high school diploma, there's opportunity to earn a college certificate or associates degree.
● Research colleges and contact admissions staff.
○ Apply Texas: Individuals can explore their options for returning to college to complete a certificate or associate’s degree by visiting www.applytexas.org The website includes a listing of all community colleges in Texas and also includes important deadlines, application requirements, admissions contact information, and more.
○ Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board: For those who are interested in exploring certificate or associate's degree programs that are fully online, visit the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's Distance Education Program Search at: https://bit.ly/2DWR2Bk
Opportunity Pathway 3: For adults with some college credit or an associate’s degree, earn a bachelor's degree.
● Research colleges and contact admissions staff.
○ Apply Texas: Individuals can explore their options for returning to complete a certificate or associate’s degree by visiting www.applytexas.org . This website includes a listing of all community colleges in the state of Texas and also includes important deadlines, application requirements, admissions contact information, and much more.
○ Finish@UT: If an individual has some college credit and is looking for a degree completion program, Finish@UT offers degree completion programs that are entirely online. This is a transfer-friendly option. Learn more at: https://utsystem.edu/finish
● The Graduate! Network's Supplemental Guide for Texas. A compilation of helpful websites and resources. The Graduate! Network Supplemental Guide
● Texas Comebackers AARP Brochure: Texas Comebackers AARP Brochure.pdf
● If you are interested in becoming a Lifelong Learning Ambassador, please contact Zulema Solis with AARP Texas at email@example.com to learn about the program and receive the guidebook.
Recent and Upcoming Events:
● Friday, May 21, webinar about Texas Comebackers
During this event, AARP Volunteer Karen Cooper and Dr. Suzanne Morales-Vale, a representative from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, shared information and resources about continuing education opportunities in Texas.
● The following event scheduled for May 27 as been canceled. We apologize for any inconvenience. Thursday, May 27, conversation on educational resources for adult learners
Join AARP Texas in learning more about educational opportunities and resources available for older adults in Texas. Leaders in the higher education community will share information about how to continue your education. They will offer practical advice about returning to school and will be available to answer questions. Presenters will include:
• Suzanne Morales-Vale of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board;
• Mahalia Baldini from the Texas Workforce Commission;
• Robert Garza, president of Palo Alto College; and
• Gloria Smith, associate vice chancellor of Dallas College.
The event takes place from 1:05 p.m. to 2:05 p.m. Thursday, May 27.
Register to attend at: https://vekeo.com/aarptexas/#event-34856
● Friday, June 4, free webinar with the Adult Education Literacy Program and the Texas Workforce Commission
Join AARP Texas at 11 a.m. Friday, June 4, as we bring information about educational opportunities for older adults through the AARP-supported Texas Comebackers program. AARP Volunteer Terry Boney and a representative from the Adult Education Literacy Program at the Texas Workforce Commission, will share information and resources about continuing education opportunities in Texas.
Register to attend at: https://aarp.cvent.com/TXCB1
● Tuesday, June 8, webinar with the Texas Veterans Leadership Program
AARP Volunteer Karen Cooper and Bobby Gear, a representative from the Texas Veterans Leadership Program from the Texas Workforce Commission, will share information and resources on how to translate your experience and training into skills.
Register to attend at: https://aarp.cvent.com/TXCB2
● Friday, June 11, panel conversation about going back to school
AARP Volunteer Terry Boney and other panelists will share their experiences about going back to school. They will also offer tips and helpful advice on adult learning.
Register to attend at: https://aarp.cvent.com/TXCB3
Texas Comebackers on social media:
Lori Frances of Houston shares her journey from losing a job to becoming a nurse thanks to steps she has taken to continue her education.
Dallas College Trustee Diana Flores talks about overcoming obstacles to continuing your education.
WATCH as AARP Volunteer Karen Cooper and Micaela Rios, a representative from The Graduate! Network, share information and resources about continuing education opportunities in Texas.
● In this AARP Texas Facebook Live conversation on Nov. 9, 2020, Associate State Director Susan Williams talks with Philip Hoy of Dallas College about educational opportunities and resources for veterans.
Watch here: https://fb.watch/38rzhu0Aab/
● In this Spanish-language conversation of Nov. 12, 2020, Associate State Director Zulema Solis talks with Dallas College staff about educational opportunities and resources for veterans.
Watch here: https://fb.watch/38rL_s2YyD/
Beverly Gor, AARP Texas Volunteer and Executive Council Member
Although I have been a registered dietitian all of my professional career, even earning a master’s degree in nutrition and a doctoral degree in health education, I had always thought about becoming a nurse. My involvement in public health and promoting health and health care in undeserved and minority communities motivated me to have more hands-on experience in delivering healthcare.
As I was making plans to retire, I discovered that the local community college offered tuition free courses to individuals over 65 years of age and at 66 years of age, I decided to start working on the prerequisite courses to apply for training as a licensed vocational nurse. I have now completed all of the required courses and have submitted my application for consideration. I hope to get accepted into the cohort beginning in Fall, 2021 and hopefully in 3 semesters will have completed the curriculum and can begin my “second” career as a nurse.
AARP Texas Director Tina Tran
Education is a cornerstone of our communities and is the most valuable asset that anyone can possess at any age. Ambassadors will play an important role in guiding and supporting our Texas Comebackers as they take the critical next steps along their continuing education journey.
Dallas Community College Executive Dean Patricia Webb
(Workforce and Continuing Education)
It is said in today's society that the new 50 is the new 40, and the new 60 is the new 50...and so on. Couple this with older adults living longer lives and, this is one of the biggest reasons why they should pursue further education and have time and energy to use it. Additionally, in expanding education it provides the ability to give back as a volunteer; teach others what they are learning; become an influencer, and simply remain active.