Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is BACK TO WORK 50+?
A: AARP Foundation launched BACK TO WORK 50+ to increase the services and resources available to 50+ job candidates nationally and in communities and to facilitate their access to in-demand jobs. AARP Foundation works with key partners to integrate local workforce services, public benefits application assistance, and employer engagement efforts to connect 50+ job candidates to specific in-demand jobs in their communities.

Q: What job candidate resources are available through BACK TO WORK 50+?
A: By calling BACK TO WORK 50+ toll-free at 1-855-850-2525 all job candidates will receive a free copy of the "7 Smart Strategies for 50+ Jobseekers" guide. Individuals can also sign-up to receive email alerts with helpful information on the job search process and find out if they may be eligible for programs that help cover food costs while they're looking for work or training for a new job.

In communities where AARP Foundation is collaborating with a local partnering organization such as a community college or workforce services organization, job candidates aged 50 and older can attend local information sessions where they will learn how to update their personal marketing tools and networking strategies, target their job search on in-demand jobs, get job leads, and find resources that can help them stay strong while they're looking for their next full-time job.

Q: Is BACK TO WORK 50+ available in my community?
A: BACK TO WORK 50+ is currently being administered in Denver, CO by Arapahoe Douglas Works and in Charleston, WV by AARP Foundation. Additional communities will be added in 2014. To find out if there is a local BACK TO WORK 50+ site near you dial toll free 1-855-850-2525, (select option 2) or visit BACK TO WORK 50+ online at: www.aarp.org/backtowork50plus pop out link icon.

Q: How do I contact BACK TO WORK 50+?
A: You can contact BACK TO WORK 50+ by calling toll-free: 1-855-850-2525, (select option 2) or visit BACK TO WORK 50+ online at: www.aarp.org/backtowork50plus pop out link icon.

Q: Does BACK TO WORK 50+ have a website?
A: Yes, please visit BACK TO WORK 50+ online at: www.aarp.org/backtowork50plus pop out link icon.

Q: What organizations are involved in BACK TO WORK 50+?
A: AARP Foundation is developing partnerships with national and local organizations to expand the reach of the BACK TO WORK 50+ initiative. Currently, BACK TO WORK 50+ is being administered in Denver, CO by Arapahoe Douglas Works and in Charleston, WV by AARP Foundation.

In October 2013, AARP Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) launched a collaboration that will expand BACK TO WORK 50+ by making it available at community colleges in 15 different locations. Of the 15 new locations, 10 will focus specifically on the needs of low income, older adult women and provide an expanded level of career and support services.

AARP Foundation is also working with the workforce investment board system in a number of states to expand the program.

Q: Where does funding for BACK TO WORK 50+ come from?
A: The important services provided by BACK TO WORK 50+ are available due in large part to the generous support of Walmart. Funding from Walmart allows AARP Foundation to focus on increasing economic opportunity for older adult women by providing education, training, and employment services that facilitate their entry into good jobs in their communities. AARP Foundation also provides funding to support programmatic efforts.

Q: What does VCN stand for?
A: VCN stands for Virtual Career Network. The VCN is an "open source" workforce services and online learning delivery platform built and operated by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) under a grant from the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the United States Department of Labor (DOL). This website was originally developed to help US workers transition into healthcare careers and is being extended to other growing industries. VCN users can learn about careers, locate education and training programs, build a robust career portfolio and search for jobs. Visit the BACK TO WORK 50+ VCN at www.vcn.org/backtowork50plus and the original VCN at www.vcn.org pop out link icon.

Q: What is the MyVCN Career Management Account and why should I create one?
A: Creating a MyVCN Career Management Account will provide you many benefits. It enables you to save all your education, training, and work related information together in one place and to access tools that help you create a resume, draft cover letters, store transcripts and develop a portfolio of your skills. With an account, you can store information about the decisions you make on the VCN so that you can come back any time later to continue if you do not complete the entire process. It is a convenient and easy place to store your career exploration results, job searches, college applications, links to key resources and more.

Q: Is data in MyVCN Account secure?
A: Yes. Your data is secured and encrypted both at rest and in transit. What this means is that the information about you is encrypted in our database. It is also encrypted when information is transmitted across the network. No one can access it but you.

Q: What is the Career Wishlist and what does it do?
A: The "Career Wishlist" provides a convenient way to save those things of interest that you may have found while using the website--careers, instructional programs, credentials, jobs, or other items that you wish to save for further investigation. The "Career Wishlist" is retained by the system for as long as an individual is actively on the website, but is deleted when the user closes the browser. However, if the user has a MyVCN Account, the "Career Wishlist" can be saved into their account for use at a later time.

Q: What is the source of the career data in the VCN?
A: Career data--such as salary, wages, and job growth--are drawn from sources in the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The descriptive information in the Career Profiles come from many sources, including O*NET, the BLS's Occupational Outlook Handbook, and the subject matter experts.

Q: What is the Interest Profiler?
A: This profiling tool was developed by the US Department of Labor, and is a self-assessment career exploration tool designed to help you discover the type of activities and careers that are relevant to you based on your interests. It can help you identify and learn about broad interest areas and enable you to explore compatible careers.

Q: What is the difference between the Get Qualified and College Credits tabs on the Toolbar?
A: The "Get Qualified" tab is where a user can search for schools offering instructional programs related to the career they have chosen and the credential they must earn to secure a job in that career. This feature provides access to more than 18,000 courses and training programs from around the country to prepare you for a variety of careers. The "College Credits" tab provides the user with the ability to determine whether they might be eligible for free college credits based on their prior military experience, their prior work experience, college courses they may have already taken, and national placement exams.

Q: What is the source of the accredited schools and instructional programs data provided in the Get Qualified feature?
A: Learning and training program data is provided by a variety of sources including IPEDS, a database maintained by the US Department of Education, and from direct searching of the websites of the individual colleges, universities and training programs featured on this site.

Q: The VCN is an "open source" application, is there a plan to provide tools to registered external developers?
A: Yes, one of the key deliverables of the project is the development of a VCN Open Source Registration and Distribution Portal for VCN code and the establishment of a VCN Open Source Development Community of registered external developers. This portal serves as the central online repository for managing the distribution and archiving of VCN code and VCN derived code, and provide a focal point for technical communication and collaboration among interested parties.