Initiative to Improve Workforce - Bridging from GED to College
(Huntsville, Alabama) - The Whitehouse has challenged the leaders of the nation’s community colleges to add 50% more graduates to their annual totals by the year 2020. Rising to this challenge, Drake State is participating in a program sponsored by The Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education to bridge the gap between those who successfully obtain a GED and entrance into college. With a local high school drop-out rate at 40%, these residents represent a population with a great deal to gain from such a program.
According to The Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education, for those who failed to complete high school, obtaining a GED can be the first step to getting a job, or a better job, with opportunities for advancement and higher wages. For others it can be the first step on a journey to lifelong learning. Whatever the motivation, obtaining a GED credential can have a life-changing impact.
Students who make the commitment to enroll in a state sponsored GED Program, like the one at Drake State, are proven to have a higher pass rate on the GED exam than those who try to pass the exam on their own.
“So often, students who enter our Adult Education Program have been out of the educational system for a period of time,” says Ryan Smith, Adult Education Director at Drake State. “Those who commit to the program, gain the knowledge and the confidence to successfully obtain their GED. These students are also excellent candidates to continue their education at the postsecondary level.”
One form of motivation comes by way of a tuition waiver. A State Board of Education policy authorizes the award of up to three semester hours of course work to those earning a GED in Alabama on or after July 1, 2002.
Over the last year, Drake State has seen enrollment in the Adult Education Program grow by 62% with the number of students successfully obtaining their GED by 135%.
“We believe that much of the growth in our Adult Education program comes from reaching out to the faith community and other community organizations to provide services in the areas of the community where they are needed. While the main campus location has the largest enrollment, we have made great strides to expand the number of locations across the county,” adds Smith.
The Drake State Adult Education program hosts classes at eight locations across Madison county including: Abundant Life Ministries (New Market area), Toney United Methodist Church, Madison Mission SDA Church, The Salvation Army (Huntsville), Northwoods Training Center (Huntsville), Oscar Mason Community Center (Huntsville), Harvest Youth Club, and Drake State Technical College – main campus.