This month’s Spotlight! is shining brightly on the power of the General Education Development (GED®) certificate, and the value it holds for those KRA Corporation jobseeker-customers who were unable to complete high school and need a credential to facilitate their entry, or re-entry, into the workplace. With drop-outs not being eligible for 90% of the available jobs, the GED® benefits KRA employer-customers as well, giving them a larger pool of candidates for their businesses.
The not-so-good news: The 2013 drop-out numbers are alarming, (www.statisticbrain.com/high-school-dropout-statistics/) with more than 3 million young people leaving school annually, and 36% exiting in the ninth grade! Reportedly, 75% of crimes are committed by high-school dropouts, which translates to a higher rate of incarceration for them—representing a serious, double obstacle to employment—compared to their high-school graduate counterparts. These situations are not only alarming, but devastating for the youth, their families, and their communities.
The good news: Since 1970, drop-out rates have steadily declined, with a National average drop from 14.6% to 7.9%. And, the news is even better for two ethnic populations, with rates having decreased by more than half! For Hispanic-Americans, the rate declined from 34.3% to 15.9%, and for Black Americans, from 21.3% to 9.1%. These numbers are indeed encouraging but—with 8,300 students dropping out daily—still too high, and pose a serious detriment to the health of both our local and national economic landscapes.
The best news: The GED® program offers a second chance to obtain that coveted credential, and KRA workforce development programs across the country are at the forefront of providing that opportunity. Because our GED® preparation programs are so critical to the success of many of our job seekers, KRA has been following the progress of the GED® system overhaul for more than a year now (www.kra.com/company-news/kra-continues-to-track-ged-overhaul/), and is pleased that as of January 2, 2014, the new-and-improved program is available.
Representing the only nationally-recognized educational program focused on helping those without a diploma to get a general equivalency certificate that can lead to a better jobs and higher wages, two 2014 GED® program features that KRA is most excited about are (1) its emphasis on the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that our employers are looking for, and (2) its alignment to career-readiness standards that our community-college partners are seeking.
There are, of course, online GED® preparation courses, and KRA provides guidance and support, as needed, to its customers who take that route. However, not everyone is suited to self-paced online learning; they prefer the individual attention/tutoring, group interaction/Q&A, and structure that classroom environments provide.
Our next Spotlight! will feature snapshots of the creative and innovative GED® preparation programs available through KRA’s Job Readiness Academy system, as well as those available, by referral, through our valued community-education partners.