Giving Compass' Take:

· Writing for The Hechinger Report, Caroline Preston talks about the changing workforce requirement and why adults are going back to school for vocational training.

· What challenges do adult learners face when going back to school? What is the goal of vocational training? How are schools revamping their vocational programs? 

· Here's more on this topic and workforce development

Carolyn Porzilli used to find work without any trouble. Not long after moving to a new city, and after a couple of tweaks to her resume, she’d easily slide into “some variation on a secretarial job,” she tells me.

That started to change as she got older. More recently, gig work along with editing and graphic design for her husband’s audio electronics business have paid the bills. But as she neared retirement age with only Social Security to count on, Porzilli decided to go back to school to pick up a new, marketable skill. Now 61, she’s about midway through a certificate program in medical transcription and editing.

The United States is notoriously ineffective at retraining workers who’ve been displaced by outsourcing and technological change, and it invests just 0.03 percent of GDP on training people, compared with Denmark’s 0.6 percent and Germany’s 0.2 percent.

For older Americans who want to retool their skills, they often have to spend a significant amount of their own money to return to school, and it can be daunting to determine if it’s worth it. (The Consumer Financial Protection Board found in 2017 that Americans age 60 and older owed an average of $23,500 in student loan debt, nearly double the average a decade earlier, though most of those loans were used to pay for children’s and grandchildren’s educations.)

Read the full article about going back to school after 50 by Caroline Preston at The Hechinger Report.