According to a 2007 Census Bureau report, Horry County South Carolina, i.e. Myrtle Beach area, is ranked the 4th fastest growing area in the nation and it is anticipated that the Grand Strand area will see its older adult population more than double over the next 20 years. Thus the graying of the region increases the demand for Coastal Carolina University students with interdisciplinary educational training and experiences in gerontology and in degreed programs that provide curriculum and/ or specializations in aging studies. There will also be a growing need for training non-traditional students for competitive jobs as 50% of the labor force will begin retiring in four years. And, because of changing demographics, there will be a shortage of younger professionals available to fill the job vacancies left by an aging and, more often than not, long tenured workforce.
Recognizing the burgeoning population growth that is currently taking place and the growth expected with aging baby boomers and others locating to the area, the Office of Lifespan Studies, (formerly the Center for Active Aging and Retirement), is expanding and establishing new collaborations within the College of Natural and Applied Sciences and across academic disciplines within the University and the Community to address the new demands of an increasingly larger and older population not only within the region, but nationally and internationally. Examples of careers in-demand include case management, social work, counseling, elder law, law enforcement, health promotions and physical fitness, activity directors, nutrition specialists, finance officers, insurance agents, estate planners, real estate developers and associates, communications professionals, recreation and tourism management, community service organizations, governmental agency services, long-term care administration, public administration, media relations, and a host of others. Source Association for Gerontology in Higher Education: Careers in Aging and CAAR.
The Office of Lifespan Studies serves as the educational and research center for aging resources for the university and region.
The Office of Lifespan Studies' core values are to promote programs and services that:
- Lead to well trained graduates who contribute to a quality workforce.
- Provide professionals with education and training to serve aging populations.
- Enhance the knowledge base with quality research to improve the quality of life of aging populations.
Enables consumers' access to reliable and accurate research and educational resources to make informed decisions.