FRANKFORT, Ky. -- – More Kentuckians are enrolling in adult education programs to help them earn their GED. The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education reports enrollment in basic, secondary, and ESL courses is up 16 percent from this time last year.
More than 500,000 people in Kentucky between the working ages of 16 and 64 do not have a high school diploma or GED. Already at a disadvantage for locating jobs, Kentucky Adult Education Vice President Reecie Stagnolia says Kentuckians without a high school education are hurt even more by the down economy.
"[For] many adults who may have lost their job, it's a good time for them to reengage in the education process. Certainly a lot of our efforts in the local communities to reach out to students a lot of times is through word of mouth," Stagnolia said.
More than 22,000 students are enrolled in adult education programs across Kentucky. Although enrollment is up, the number of students graduating from the program is down nine percent from this time last year. Completion over the past few years, however, is trending upward. Stagnolia says progressing through the courses is different for each person.
"About 77 percent of our students come to us functioning below the ninth grade education level and about 41 percent of our students come to us functioning below the sixth grade education level, so they have a lot of ground to make up. And as we students with that much ground to make up they have to spend a lot of time with us," Stagnolia said.
There are adult education centers offering free classes in all 120 counties in Kentucky. Stagnolia says the goal is for students to earn their GED and transition to other training or a college education.
Click here to learn more about Kentucky Adult Education and to locate a center near you.