My social media feed is filled with graduation pictures including from my friend’s daughter’s pre-K, two of my cousins’ high school and a colleague’s son’s college graduation ceremony. Within the Goodwill® network, hundreds of graduates are exiting the Excel Center, an alternative adult high school started by Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana, Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana. In Indiana alone, there are 17 locations where nearly 4,000 people have graduated with their high school diplomas and 97% of graduates have earned an industry-recognized certification or college credit. Furthermore, 70% of graduates are employed within six months of graduation with a 50% wage increase. Read more about the Excel Center in a blog from the Ascend Impact Series.
Goodwill-operated Excel Centers can also be found in Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Washington, DC. The recently opened Goodwill Excel Center in Poplar Bluffs, Missouri just celebrated its first graduating class – a group of eight adults who took advantage of the services offered by the school including flexible scheduling, financial resources, free childcare and free transportation.
Local Goodwill organizations understand that students don’t always follow one particular route for educational attainment. This is why the Excel Center model takes a holistic approach in removing barriers, which may have prevented people from completing their high school education earlier.
Lawmakers in Congress also recognize that students take different pathways from education to careers. Congress passed the Career and Technical Education Act last year and leaders in the House and Senate have been trying to hammer out differences in order to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.
Goodwill Industries International (GII) stands ready to work with lawmakers as nonprofits play an important role in educating adults and ensuring that they have the skills needed to enter the workforce of the future while meeting the needs of employers today. Be sure to sign up for updates from GII’s government relations team via the Legislative Action Center to stay informed and follow us on Twitter @GoodwillCapHill.