Area GED Initiative Reaches Testing Goal

Testing sessions start January 6, 2014 and a complete schedule can be found on-line at RVC offers adult education classes at 11 different locations in the area.

STATELINE (WIFR) – Boone-Winnebago Counties Regional School Superintendent Dr. Lori Fanello announced today that 1110 individuals in the two-county area passed their GED tests and achieved their high school equivalency diplomas in the last 17 months.

Fanello made the announcement at today’s meeting of the Northern Illinois Workforce Alliance, one of the lead agencies in a two-year initiative to increase GED attainment in the Rockford area. Community leaders involved in the initiative had set a goal of having 1000 individuals pass their GEDs between July 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013. In addition to the workforce board and the regional education office, partners in the initiative have included Rock Valley College, Literacy Council, Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois, Rockford Health Council and Roosevelt Community Education Center.

There are major changes ahead for persons hoping to earn their GED. Starting in January, the cost of the test more than doubles from $50 to $120 and the test changes from a written exam to a test given on a computer. In addition, individuals who have completed portions of the GED test but not the entire exam will see their scores wiped out.

According to Fanello, her office will continue to offer GED testing through December 20, including the next two Saturdays, for persons who have started the battery of tests and need to complete before the end-of-year deadline.

According to recent census figures, there are more than 20-thousand people in the Rockford metro area over the age of 25 without a high school diploma or equivalency. The American Community Survey also reports significantly higher unemployment for those individuals without a high school diploma; an average of 18.9% between 2008 and 2010 compared to 12.9% for those who completed high school. A study from Georgetown University also suggests that of the millions of jobs that will be created in the near future, nearly two-thirds of them will require some type of training beyond high school.

More than sixty community leaders from education, workforce and economic development and business attended the first GED Roundtable discussion in 2011 and different committees have been busy since then working on this project.
This community initiative does not end in December. The need for a skilled workforce continues to be major issue for employers in this region and the effort to encourage educational attainment, including high school completion, GED testing and training beyond high school, goes hand in hand with area school district efforts to better prepare students for the future workforce.

Rock Valley College is also scheduling orientation and testing sessions for its next round of adult education GED and pre-GED classes, starting in the spring semester.

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