In direct alignment with the General Assembly of Virginia's Geriatric Training and Education (GTE) initiative, the "Building Aging Competencies: Gerontology Training for Counselors" program will offer two half-day conferences to counselors during the Winter and Spring of 2010. The program funded by the GTE initiative is intended to develop and enhance the skills and capacities of not only a population of current and future counselors, but potential researchers and policymakers that can benefit long-term by expanded knowledge towards aging competency. The program will advance the "elder-friendly community vision" and adoption of a continuum of care to support the increasing needs of older adults.
As lead organization, The Center for Excellence in Aging and Geriatric Health in Williamsburg, Virginia has created a partnership with The College of William & Mary's Counselor Education Program and Virginia Association of Marriage and Family Counseling. This collaborative effort will provide gerontological education to both counseling students and professionals already actively involved in the community. The program partners have a strong history of adult and aging-related experience, and share similar missions dedicated to advancing the education of professionals to meet future needs of the community. Speakers will be invited to provide content-rich information on their area of gerontological expertise. This program will lay groundwork for the continued educational support and competencies of counseling students, expanded to other professions in the future, and the opportunity to publish best practices for other organizations developing a similar partnership with educational institutions.