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Jan Abushakrah, PhD: New Face of Aging

The New Gerontology Student

As baby boomers transform the face of aging, the field of Gerontology is changing and attracting a new Gerontology student to realize the unprecedented potential in this invigorated field.

Community colleges are ideally situated to direct students of all ages to new employment opportunities, to provide younger students the basic knowledge and skills to embark on their first career path, and to retool and redirect experienced and older students to create careers with a heart for their “second acts.” At Portland Community College, we serve students fitting these profiles:

•    Career Developers, new to the workforce and higher education, who are attracted to the wide range of opportunities to create meaningful and engaging career paths.

•    Career Enhancers, who choose to specialize in aging in such diverse fields as fitness technology, nursing, allied health services, business, management, or alcohol and drug counseling.

•    Career Changers, who seek to channel their lifelong experience and skills into challenging new directions and a chance to make a difference in the lives of aging Americans.

•    Social Entrepreneurs, who identify their niche market and ride the “age wave” through self-employment, creating unique opportunities to support longer living and healthier elders.

•    Family Caregivers and Care Managers, motivated to serve elder family members, who discover in their care work new career directions.

Regardless of age, work history, family obligations, or prior education, the new gerontology students lead busy and challenging lives and they are looking for a flexible and supportive educational framework to advance their career goals.

Through online and classroom courses, as well as intentional internships, Portland Community College Gerontology Program provides the flexibility to fit students’ lives and the resources to design the careers that fit their talents, interests, and passions.

Jan Abushakrah, PhD, PCC Department Chair,
Gertontology and Sociology Instructor

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