Care for Iowa’s aging population is a critical workforce need both now and in the years to come. Between 2015-2030, for instance, the Iowa Data Center projects the population aged 70 and older will grow from 343,803 to 494,183—or greater than 40 percent in just 15 years.
The University of Northern Iowa is focused on helping Iowans prepare the professional workforce needed to help Iowa’s aging population live full lives in their homes, communities, or long-term care facilities. UNI offers the only four-year Gerontology program in the state, preparing students for one of two tracks: Long Term Care Administration (LTC) and the Social Sciences. The LTC program prepares graduates for state licensure as a Long Term Care Administrator, and the Social Sciences track educates students to provide critical needs for older adults.
In the words of Elaine Eshbaugh, Adele Whitenack Davis Professor of gerontology, “Our program graduates work in the long term care field, but also with active, healthy older adults looking for opportunities to enhance their lives through improving their physical, social, and psychological health.” UNI alumnus Jake Bates is doing just that as Manager of Parker Place Community in Parkersburg, Iowa. At Parker Place, Jake leads a comfortable, home-style living environment that offers a variety of programs and services to foster well-being while meeting needs of the community.
UNI’s Gerontology graduates are in demand and focused on Iowa. In 2018, 100 percent of the graduates from this program were placed in employment or advanced education within six months after completing their degrees. Further, nine out of 10 UNI Gerontology graduates stay in the state after graduation. This program is another example of UNI’s commitment to the people, industries, and communities of Iowa.