Everest University and Central Florida Urban League in Orlando announce they have teamed up to provide a GED® college bound program that is free and open to the public. Anyone interested in enrolling in the Urban League's Urban Empowerment College-Bound Program, which begins this month, should contact Brittany Martin at the Central Florida Urban League, at 407-841-7654, ext. 319.
"We commend Everest University for taking the initiative to fill an important need in our community," said Allie Braswell, president and CEO of Central Florida Urban League. "Too many jobs in our community go unfilled because of a skills gap. This program represents an important first step in giving people the skills they need to succeed."
According to GED Testing Service®, 39 million adults in the United States lack a high school diploma or GED test credential. Closer to home, in Orange County, 20 percent of high school students either drop out or don't graduate. To compound the issue, as of July 1, 2012, those without a high school diploma or GED are no longer eligible for federal financial aid for college*.
Educators are concerned that cost is a major impediment preventing students and adults from obtaining a GED test credential. The Urban League's GED curriculum is a free program of study that includes tutoring sessions, classroom instruction and weekly meetings with an advisor to assess progress. Test fees are waived. Students who qualify for the Urban Empowerment College-Bound Program also receive tutoring and flexible class hours. To put them on the road for educational success, they receive financial counseling, one-on-one career coaching, and a graduation ceremony upon completion.
"The National Urban League and the entire Urban League movement are committed to preparing every American student for college, work and life," said Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. "As communities of color begin to recover from historically high rates of unemployment, no single factor is more important to that recovery than education. This program doesn't simply offer an opportunity for a GED certificate, it represents the possibility of a productive and prosperous future."
The collective partnership of the Central Florida Urban League and Everest University has the knowledge and experience—the classrooms, curriculum and instructors—to help individuals obtain this critical credential.
"We're proud to offer our community a program that opens the doors of educational and economic opportunity to nontraditional students," said Jay Wilmoth, president of Everest University-South Orlando, located at 9200 Southpark Center Loop, Orlando, Fla. 32819.
"The Urban Empowerment College-Bound Program offered by Central Florida Urban League in partnership with Everest can change the course of many lives," said Charlie Hardiman, president of Everest University-North Orlando, located at 5421 Diplomat Circle, Orlando, Fla. 32810.
According to the American Council on Education and the GED Testing Service, students who complete a formal test preparation program and pass the Official GED Practice Test™ have higher pass rates than those who study independently.
Adults without a high school diploma face tremendous obstacles to achieving their economic potential. On average, their unemployment rates are higher and their wages lower than those with a GED credential or high school diploma. For these adults, access to postsecondary education and training, a requirement for many jobs in today's competitive economy, is also severely restricted.
Until recently, students without a GED test credential or high school diploma who seek postsecondary education were able to qualify for federal grants and loans by passing an assessment test or successfully completing six credits toward a degree or certificate.