Education may be the key to a brighter future, but for many Kentuckians, access to quality education is difficult. A recent study performed by WalletHub found Kentucky to be among the least educated states, ranking near the bottom at 47 in regards to the percentage of adults with a high school diploma.
Gov. Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman have made education one of their top priorities. In early January, the duo announced that Kentucky Skills U, an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC), will waive testing fees for Kentuckians seeking to earn a GED.
“This state funding will remove one more barrier for Kentuckians and provide them one more opportunity to earn their GED – a critical piece to helping the more than 335,000 Kentuckians without a GED or high school diploma to participate in our workforce and thrive," said Gov. Beshear in a statement from the governor’s office.
The GED testing fee is currently $120, and one of the biggest obstacles to adults lacking education in the Commonwealth. EWDC has allotted $600,000 in state funding to waive the fees and help eliminate financial barriers.
“Every Kentuckian has the right to quality education,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “As a teacher, I know there is no greater way to positively change a person’s economic situation than lifting their level of education.”
According to Lt. Gov. Coleman, adults lacking high school or GED diplomas are two times as likely to be unemployed and three times as likely to live in poverty. Over 150,000 Kentuckians lacking a GED or high school diploma are currently unemployed. By waiving GED testing fees, those unemployed or underemployed have more opportunities to create a brighter career trajectory.
When more individuals participate in the workforce, the entire community benefits. Skilled workers and professionals are better equipped to compete for good jobs and feel more competent in the workplace, which helps employers succeed as well. Companies are more likely to locate or expand in areas with a strong workforce. All are key to a strong economy.
Kentucky Skills U is committed to providing academic and essential skills instruction to help ensure Kentucky adults get the education they need. For all Kentuckians to prosper, we believe every citizen must be prepared to function well in the workforce, the community and the home.
The bottom line is simple: if Kentuckians have a good education they can pursue careers and support their families. By setting a good example, their children are also more likely to succeed in school and beyond.
At Kentucky Skills U, we are happy to provide free adult education services in all 120 counties to help Kentuckians obtain a GED. Through Kentucky Skills U, Kentuckians can gain reading, math and communications skills that place them on a path to higher education and training, and earn certifications to move ahead in their careers.
Education is the key to a brighter future - and that’s why it should be available. Whether you are interested in preparing for the GED Ready test or the Official GED, college or the workforce, Kentucky Skills U is here to help. Our local Kentucky Skills U instructors are ready in every county to help you break through barriers to reach your education and career goals through managed classroom instruction, small group labs and distance learning opportunities. We focus on where you are now and give you the tools you need to qualify for more jobs, better jobs, college and higher pay.
Before taking the GED in Kentucky, you are required to take the GED Ready test, which is available at no cost through Kentucky Skills U. Additionally your local Skills U program will provide free learning opportunities, at the center or from home, to get you ready to pass the GED. You may also take the GED Ready test online at ged.com for a fee. Individuals can text “MYGED” to 74700 to connect with a Kentucky Skills U center near you or go to kyskillsu.ky.gov to learn more about no-cost adult education services.
Diane Kelley is the Director of Skills U for Breckinridge, Hardin, Hart, LaRue and Marion Counties. She is a large advocate for Kentuckians being prepared to function well in the workforce. Diane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.