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Curriculum to Teach College Students About Aging Population is Expanding

DA Classroom 1.mp4

A pilot program launched by AARP Connecticut to teach college students about the realities of America’s aging population and workforce will soon expand to other states, says Erica Michalowski, the director of community outreach and education at AARP’s Connecticut office.

Michalowski joined a recent Facebook Live hosted by AARP Wisconsin to talk about the Disrupt Aging program, which was tested in 31 classes across five college campuses in Connecticut. Students in the program work with AARP volunteers to learn more about specific subject areas and how they've been impacted by an older population and older consumer base. She says the 2 1/2-hour courses were applied to criminal justice, business, sociology, occupational therapy and psychology classes, among others.

“We are rolling this out as we speak,” Michalowski said, indicating AARP is training groups to facilitate these programs in other states.

Michalowski was joined by Kamili Wilson, vice president of enterprise innovations at AARP and leader of the association’s Disrupt Aging initiative, which is based on a bestselling book by AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins that challenges traditional stereotypes associated with aging. Wilson said AARP is also exploring how to make the college program into a virtual experience given the uncertainty associated with students returning to classrooms during the months ahead.

“The value of shifting perspectives around aging, especially earlier in life, at the beginning of a career, can positively impact the economy, business and a multigenerational workforce,” Wilson said.

Watch the rest of Michalowski’s and Wilson’s conversation above and on AARP Wisconsin’s Facebook page.

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