GAINESVILLE, TX - North Central Texas College saw a growing problem in the community of students who never completed their schooling. So the Lifelong Learning department decided to do something about it with a new and innovative GED program.
Kevin Knight knows firsthand how important getting your GED can be; he dropped out of high school when he was in the 10th grade. Kevin hit hard times as a teen when his father died and he had to go to work to support himself and his family.
"I wish there were different opportunities when I did get my GED than there was, but it's really opened a lot of doors,” said Knight.
He got his GED without any outside help, but said he wished he'd had a support system like NCTC's GED Academy.
"I think it's definitely a second chance, but I also think it's also a second chance for them to taking a different approach to getting that education,” said Djuna Forrester, Dean of Lifelong Learning.
The new program will allow 79 eligible students to get their GED for free. A grant from the Texas Education Agency will provide tuition, books and testing fees. But that’s not all students will be able to get out of the GED Academy.
"The other innovative thing we're doing here is encompassing the academics with life skills and critical workforce skills and then also academic preparedness,” said Forrester.
Basically, students will be able to take classes, use online resources and get individualized tutoring in the fall to get their GED. Then in the spring they move onto occupational training, such as accounting, bookkeeping, welding, certified nurse’s aide, HVAC Technician or pharmaceutical technician.
Forrester said they’ve had GED programs in the past, but nothing like this. She said the GED Academy goes beyond completing your education, and prepares students for life after school or further education.
"Take this as an opportunity where you have the financial resources to help you and you have the support people to help you,” said Forrester.
And when that goal is reached, the future is that much brighter.
"Just hold your head up, you'll make it. I mean it's one foot in front of the other and you'll get there.... I did it, I'm living proof,” said Kevin, who’s set to finish welding school in August.
The program is open to adults ages 18 to 25 who dropped out of a Texas public high school or didn't complete home-schooling requirements. Classes begin August 4th. You can sign up by calling the Lifelong Learning center at (940) 668-4272.