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Under age-discrimination laws, college professors, like most American workers, can’t be forced into retirement. Congress ended mandatory age-70 faculty retirement in 1994, after the National Academy of Sciences predicted the change wouldn’t increase professors’ average retirement age.

Colleges and universities are experimenting with strategies—from financial incentives to life coaching—aimed at coaxing veteran professors into starting the next chapter of their lives.

Faculty members are finding exciting new directions once they retire from their tenured professorships. But data suggests that faculty members are waiting longer to retire than they once did, with sometimes problematic implications for their institutions.

TRAINING FOR EMT JOBS—At Rowan College at Burlington County’s TEC Building, employees of the paramedics company Virtua can put their tuition reimbursement benefits to use. RCBC is growing and improving its Health Sciences programs in partnership with the company.

There is no one-size-fits-all partnership between the community college and industry. Arrangements can range from brief partnerships that fill immediate hiring needs to long-term strategic relationships that provide ongoing training and development for current and future employees.

The Industry Workforce Needs Coalition, a national network of businesses striving to increase the number of skilled workers, outlines three separate levels of industry-aligned partnerships:

The road to employment—Ivy Tech’s Machine Tool Technology program, developed by employers in need of skilled workers, offers certificate, technical certificate and associate degree options ranging from 18 to 60 credit hours.

From construction workers and machinists to occupational therapists and fire fighters, skilled laborers are in high demand—and shortages of employees are making it difficult for companies to fill jobs. Community colleges are well-positioned to train workers to fill these skills gaps.

Drumming up support for a program where food service gives back can involve highlighting a prominent, well-loved individual within campus dining.

Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College in Minnesota, for example, named a food pantry after the school’s first housing director, Bruce Carlson, who died unexpectedly in 2010.

When a trio of students at Christopher Newport University in Virginia wanted to start a program to collect leftover food from the dining halls each night and deliver it to a rescue mission, the director of the university’s dining services had some questions.

Looking the part: Students at Missouri University of Science & Technology need not venture off campus or even pay anything to find their first professional attire. After a résumé review in the career center, they can jaunt across the hall to the suit closet and emerge career-ready.

Raising awareness of traditional and newer career-preparation services, which thanks to technology can often be delivered remotely, is essential. Career centers are proving, too, that they can create innovative programming to entice participation. Here are several successful approaches worth adopting.

Various campus communities have different expectations of the career center. (Click to enlarge)

1. Encourage drop-ins.

During “career cafés” at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Metropolitan campus in New Jersey, students can stop in for coffee and cookies, enjoy some music and chat with career counselors.

“With this generation, something pops into their head and they want to deal with it right then and there,” says Donna J. Robertson, university director of career development for the three-campus institution.

Incorporating the local: A four-story atrium in Salisbury University’s 224,000-square-foot, $117 million library features a grand staircase with the silhouette of Chesapeake Bay crabs that was designed to echo colors of the nearby ocean.

While 98 percent of librarians in a 2015 Gale/Library Journal survey wished for better communication with faculty, only 45 percent of faculty expressed the same wish.

This gap presents both a challenge and an opportunity for libraries to make a case for their usefulness to faculty, in both their teaching and scholarship.

To promote faculty use of the library, Salisbury University in Maryland created a dedicated Faculty Center, including comfortable spaces and conference rooms to foster interaction among professors and instructors across disciplines.

Many colleges and universities are investing millions of dollars to repurpose or even expand libraries to make room for collaborative learning, technology centers, dining areas, research support and other academic services.

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