If you’re one of our public supporters, you likely already know about Goodwill’s mission to provide job training and employment opportunities. But did you know that several local Goodwill organizations run a unique high school – The Excel Center – for adults who are working to earn their high school diplomas?
Let me guess, you had no idea that Goodwill helped people advance their education, right? It turns out that nearly 20 percent of working-age adults in the U.S. don’t have a high school diploma – that’s over 30 million people who are trying to provide for themselves and their families without having one of the most important credentials. In the words of our founder Edgar Helms , Goodwill strives to help people “enjoy a maximum of abundant living” by finding new ways to address this most critical issues.
The goal of The Excel Center is to provide adults the opportunity and support they need to earn their high school diplomas and begin post-secondary education while developing career skills that provide the greatest employment and career growth opportunities within the local economy.
The Excel Center education plan has three central pillars which work together to meet the goals and needs of adult students: competency-based academics, concentrated focus on college and career readiness, and coaching to navigate challenges that impeded success.
First started in Indianapolis, there are now Excel Centers located across Indiana as well as in Austin, TX; Memphis, TN; and Washington, DC. And, in a moving new documentary, “Night School“, you can follow the experiences of Greg, Melissa and Shynika, three adult learners attending The Excel Center in Indianapolis, IN, operated by Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana. Their stories will move you and you’ll understand the need for these types of schools for Americans looking to advance their educations and begin their careers.
Since opening in 2010, the eleven Excel Centers operated by Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana have seen dramatic growth and impact. The nearly 2,400 Excel Center graduates to date have earned over 3,500 industry recognized certificates or credentials as well as over 5,200 college credits.
Not only do these graduates work hard while attending programs, they work hard after graduation. 70 percent of graduates are employed and have a 50 percent wage increase six months after graduation. They also keep building their skills, with 38 percent of graduates enrolling in post-secondary education.
A high school diploma is no longer the ticket to the middle class in the U.S. economy but it is essential to take advantage of the opportunities created by today’s and tomorrow’s workplace. Goodwill – and the Excel Center – are working to ensure people have that chance by creating a path to this foundational credential.