Posted by Christy Williams on December 30th, 2015
It’s not always easy to be an adult educator. Obtaining a high school diploma when life has steered young adults in another direction is also not a small task. This realization makes it important to stop and reflect on the bigger picture every once in awhile. Adult learning centers across the country are using government funding to produce skilled graduates. Even in the face of budget cuts and program changes, many institutions are able to focus on what matters most: Accomplished students who will go on to pursue worthwhile careers.
Colorado recently joined other states that have expanded their efforts to help young adults obtain a high school equivalency diploma. They became the sixth state to accept three different testing options: GEDⓇ certification, the HiSET ™ Exam and the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion. The decision was in response to the low percentage of people passing the GEDⓇ test since its alignment with the Common Core standards in 2014.
Heartland Community College in Illinois was relieved when Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill releasing federal funds for their adult education program. Although the $275,000 received will offset the million dollar cost of Heartland’s adult ed program, there is still concern about the lack of state funding. College administration is grateful they still have a program, even though major cuts have been made to staff, course offerings and supplies. Conversations will continue to ensure young adults have access to the education necessary to keep Illinois’ economy strong.
In 2007, the Joyce Foundation created a seven-year initiative across six Midwestern states called “Shifting Gears.” The goal of the program was to increase the number of skilled workers entering the workforce. The heart of the program includes “bridge” programs that teach occupational-specific skills and basic literacy. The goal is to lead young adults to a promising career. Eight years later, adult ed enrollment has more than doubled in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Educational leaders are hopeful the program will continue to produce skilled workers and overall thriving economies.
Adult ed instructors in Logan County, Kentucky, are taking a new approach to help adult students pass the math portion of the GEDⓇ exam. They are hosting a Boot Camp program designed specifically for students who have taken and failed the GEDⓇ math exam. It’s a fast-paced course that meets every day for ten straight days. Instructors use a practice test to pinpoint the specific skills students lack, then use the Boot Camp format to improve those skills.
Educators and students at Lafayette Adult Resource Academy (LARA) celebrated the success of 30 students who recently earned high school equivalency diplomas. Since July, 104 students have earned their high school diplomas, causing faculty to reflect on the importance that each individual success has on the overall program. Although the obstacles to high school equivalency are too great for many to overcome, LARA staff and students understand that when students reach their goals it is a milestone to celebrate, as well as the first step toward a promising future for so many adults.