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Lifelong Learning

Larry Crowne and the value of lifelong learning

Larry Crowne, a recently released movie starring Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks, depicts an issue that is increasingly real for millions of Americans. In the film, Larry Crowne is fired from his job at a big box store, because the upper management believes that his lack of college education will prevent him from advancing. So, Crowne goes back to school. 

His experience is relatable to what many boomers are feeling as they seek employment opportunities, but also touches on the fact that more and more Americans are going back to the classroom well into middle age - either to gain a new skill set or enjoy an intellectual atmosphere.

This is something that will become increasingly important as the job market changes and more adults decide to work past traditional retirement age. One new report, Future Work Skills 2020, explains that the top concern for workers going forward should be adaptability.

"New perceptions of what it means to age, as well as the emerging possibilities for realistic, healthy life-extension, will begin [to] take hold. Individuals will need to rearrange their approach to their careers, family life, and education to accommodate this demographic shift," the report says.

The Atlantic, a literary magazine, suggests that one of the biggest barriers to lifelong learning right now is that universities and colleges are internally resistant to any major changes in their current learning models. As adults become more interested in going back to school, however, this is sure to change.

Some retirement communities, such as those designed by Del Webb, offer learning opportunities for homeowners through partnerships with major universities and Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, combining the luxuries and amenities of retirement with an active, intellectual environment that fosters personal growth and new experiences.

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