Campus: Sonoma State University -- December 20, 2004

Woolsey Secures $200,000 For Lifelong Learning For Those Over 50 at Sonoma State University

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, (D-Petaluma) has secured $200,000 for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Sonoma State University so that funds are available to expand educational services to students over 50 years of age.

The Osher LLI at SSU serves as the lead campus in the California State University network of Osher LLI programs and for assisting and coordinating a nationwide Osher network. Rep. Woolsey secured the funding as part of the final FY05 Omnibus appropriations bill.

"Education doesn't stop in grade school or college, it continues your entire life," said Rep. Woolsey. "Students who successfully complete Osher LLI coursework, don't just benefit themselves, but benefit the whole community."

California State University is trying to take advantage of this "new demographic" by developing a cross-generational mentoring program to provide traditionally-aged students with experienced mentors from a variety of professional backgrounds.

Since its start in the fall of 2001, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Sonoma State University has provided a wide range of course work tailored towards the needs of the "over 50" population.

The program offers three eight-week sessions each year with courses "aimed at exploring literary, artistic and geographical vistas, raising personal, philosophical and religious questions, and studying scientific and technological discoveries."

During the Institute's first nine sessions, more than 1500 enrollees, with an average age of 69, have taken the 90 courses offered in the curriculum.

As the top Democrat on the House Education Committee's Education Reform Subcommittee, Rep. Lynn Woolsey has fought for programs to improve and expand the educational opportunities of Americans.

In the last Congress, she successfully restored programs to help displaced homemakers and provide training in nontraditional occupations as part of her amendment to the Workers Investment Act; she supported legislation to fully fund "No Child Left Behind," and has fought to ensure that all children, including the disabled, have access to a world class education.

"All investments in education are an investment in the future of our families and our country," said Rep. Woolsey. This $200,000 earmark for Sonoma State University is in addition to the $29 million that Rep. Woolsey announced last month for Sonoma and Marin counties in the FY05 Omnibus appropriations bill.

With an additional $9 million to combat Sudden Oak Death, $34 million to fight Pierce's disease and $500,000 for a program to reduce the international trafficking of women and girls, Rep. Woolsey helped secure over $74 million for California's 6th Congressional District and the nation in the spending bill.

Contacts: Susannah Cernojevich, Press Secretary, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, (202) 225-5187

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