As an adult education instructor, I’ve seen firsthand how education leads to a higher standard of living and an increased quality of life.
With that in mind, the Lincoln Trail region has reasons to take pride in our Adult Education programs and the students who access these programs.
According to statewide rankings completed in December, Hardin County leads the state in GED attainment for the 2015-16 school year. Hardin County’s goal is to help at least 59 students earn a GED this fiscal year and the ranking considers the percentage of that goal that has been met.
Grayson, Marion, LaRue and Breckinridge counties also placed in the top 25 for percentage of GED goal met.
Meanwhile, LaRue, Marion and Hardin counties place in the overall top 25 Kentucky Adult Education programs, and programs within the Lincoln Trail region are ranking high in National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) goal attainment and students’ academic performance.
The rankings are encouraging, but what is truly inspiring is what’s behind the numbers – the students.
It’s the single mother who earned a GED and NCRC and is now doing well in college. It’s the young man who, after attaining a GED, moved from a low-paying job to a career with self-sustaining pay and the employee benefits that are so essential. It’s a man who overcomes the challenges of not having a vehicle or permanent home, walking to work and classes, because he knows his journey ends with long-term stability.
We’re striving to further increase GED attainment with personalized student plans and, specifically, a fast track program in Hardin County. Many of our students work a job or two, many are parents and some lack transportation. For these reasons and others, students are testing as soon as they are ready, regardless of the number of hours they’ve spent in Adult Education classes. Also, GED Express, an accelerated GED program, is available through all Kentucky Adult Education programs.
Still, we know a GED is only the beginning. It is estimated that by 2020, 63 percent of all jobs in Kentucky will require some level of postsecondary education.
That’s why Adult Education programs offer a breadth of services not only to facilitate GED attainment, but also to assist students as they transition to college or a career.
Together with the Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail, which is overseen by the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board, we’re helping job seekers develop the skills and earn the credentials they need to pursue new career opportunities.
Services include workplace skills training, testing and much more. In particular, we offer preparation for and administration of the TABE (test of adult basic education) and the National Career Readiness Certificate, two credentials commonly used by employers to predict a job candidate’s workplace success.
These services matter to us all because the quality of place we enjoy rises with the educational attainment of our community.
Our region’s overall education levels directly influence local economic development and job growth. Consider that a person with a high school credential has nearly $9,300 more annual spending power than a high school dropout.
Plus, we know businesses want to invest in communities with skilled and educated workers, and the quality of the workforce often has become the most important factor as companies decide where they will locate and grow.
In addition, education is strongly connected to civic involvement, health, home ownership and long-term self-sufficiency.
It’s also important to note that as adults achieve their educational goals, they set a powerful example for their children and lay a foundation for our next generation’s educational success.
If you are an adult interested in furthering your education, find out how Adult Education can help. Visit kyae.ky.gov to learn more or find your county’s center at kyvae.org/countycontacts.aspx.
Diane Kelley is director of Hardin County Adult Education. She can be reached at 270-769-8866 or email@example.com.