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Baby Boomers, The Driving Force

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Landlord-tenant law combines three areas of law; 1.) property law 2.) contract law and 3.) negligence law. Landlord-tenant law combines three areas of law; 1.) property law 2.) contract law and 3.) negligence law. Colleges nation wide have been reporting strong surges in enrollment largely due

to baby boomers returning to school. Baby boomers are Americans born between 1946

and 1964. Soldiers returning from WWII caused a rise in the birth rate of the United

States, creating a "boom" which is where the term "baby boom" comes from. There were

approximately 76 million baby boomers born during that 18 year span. The baby boomer

generation is now creating a "boom" in the field of adult education.

Enrollment in college programs by baby boomers has risen substantially. In 2001

the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that more than 20 percent

of United States college students are above the age of 30. (qtd. in CNN 1). The National

Center for Education Statistics also reported that enrollment of students aged 40 and

older has increased by 48 percent from the early 1970's. (1). The baby boomer

generation has become the driving force behind the growth of adult education.

The benefits of higher education for the boomers have been greater than that

of their parents. Baby boomer parents are from the Great Depression generation. These

Great Depression era parents were immigrants who believed that hard work was the way

to succeed in life. Upon arriving in America, the immigrants needed skills to help them

live in their new homeland. They learned a new language, to read and that education

was necessary to secure their future. These parents raised their children with the belief

that education would open many doors for their children's futures.

The effects of education for the baby boomers was stronger than for their parents

of the Great Depression generation. "Both baby boomers and their parents enjoyed a

positive association between net worth and education." (Keister 5). According to

National Center for Educational Statistics the boomers have acquired more wealth by

the age of 30 than their immigrant parents had acquired by that same age. The boomers

have enjoyed a higher income than their parents substantiating the theory that higher

education is the key to success. Educated boomers were enjoying the reward of a

higher lifestyle than that of their uneducated immigrant parents.

The baby boomer students have proven themselves to be the fastest growing

educational demographic. Record breaking boomer enrollment in part-time adult

education programs has been reported throughout the country. Baby boomer enrollments

are increasing proportionately faster than enrollment of younger students.

Today the baby boomers have reached middle age and expect to remain

physically active for most of their life. Career changes, corporate downsizing and the

wave of new technology requires that baby boomers return to the classroom to update

their skills. "Labor forces of the future will see dramatic changes as the baby boomer

generation reaches retirement age." (Niznik 1). The boomer labor force age group

of 45-64 will grow at a fast pace due to baby boomers not retiring. The growth of

enrollment of baby boomers in the professional degree programs has been substantial.

More than half of the enrollment for the managerial degrees are baby boomer students.

Having a college degree affords baby boomers great opportunities for their future.

As Knable pointed out, "Without having the proper credentials baby boomers feel they

may not have the qualifications required for the position they desire." (Knable 3). Baby

boomers want careers that give them energy, a sense of self determination and the

opportunity to make meaningful contributions to their world.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that "Jobs requiring a bachelor


degree are expected to grow the most quickly in the 21st Century, nearly twice as fast as

the average for all occupations." (Knable 2). These jobs will require higher skills in

math and language along with better reasoning capabilities. (3). The Bureau of Labor

Statistics report that there will be fewer jobs for the unskilled and under educated

employee in the future.

J. Steven Niznik feels that, "Baby boomers are taking control of the labor force in

the new millennium." (Niznik 1). However, baby boomers know that they



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