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How Goodwill is Helping Adults Earn a High School Education

Too often, the conversation about supporting adults’ attainment of a degree or credential presupposes that all have received a high school diploma. Yet while 88 percent of Americans have completed high school, those who haven’t face low wages and high levels of unemployment. Worse, most states set a cap on the age a student can receive a high school diploma, leaving older learners in a position where their options for educational attainment are limited.

As NPR notes, however, new opportunities for adults seeking a high school education are being made available. The non-profit Goodwill, for example, is offering a service specifically for older students who want a diploma, the Goodwill Excel Center. Currently, Goodwill has Excel Centers in Indiana, Texas, Washington D.C. and Tennessee. The charter schools offer both day and night classes, with year-round schedules including five eight-week terms, schedules that fit adults’ busy lifestyles. Upon completion of the program, students receive high school diplomas. 

In addition to providing a pathway for high school diploma attainment, the Goodwill Excel Center provides life coaches who can help students make smart decisions regarding career planning and future education choices. Equally as important for many adults, students are given access to free transportation and child care—services that are essential for lower-income learners. 

The success of Goodwill’s initiative noted in NPR’s coverage speaks to the importance of meeting the unique needs of adult learners. Regardless of the level of educational attainment adult students seek, institutions must always be mindful of the realities of being an adult learner and must strive to support them.

To read more from NPR about Goodwill Excel Centers, click here.


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