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Pilot Program Helps KY Adults Complete GED, College Degree

Around 36 million Americans have some college credit but no degree, according to federal data. (Adobe Stock)
Around 36 million Americans have some college credit but no degree, according to federal data. (Adobe Stock)
February 11, 2020

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky is the first state to participate in a pilot program aimed at helping adult learners choose the best path toward obtaining their GED, certificate or college degree. The program trains local volunteers to reach out to prospective adult learners in their communities.

Jen Schramm is a labor market issues expert with the AARP Public Policy Institute. She said currently 7 million jobs in the U.S. remain unfilled because employers can't find qualified workers. At the same time, many workers, often age 50 or older, are stuck in a field or can't move into a higher-wage job because they lack credentials or the degree required.

"We want to be able to help adults find ways for them to meet their educational goals - whether they are trying to complete a GED, a college certificate, or getting an associate's or a bachelors degree," Schramm said. "We want to make sure that they are aware of the different paths that are available to them in Kentucky."

By 2030, it's expected at least 60% of working-age adults in Kentucky will need to have earned a postsecondary-education degree or credential to meet workforce demands. More information on the program is available at aarp.org/ComebackKy.

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education president Aaron Thompson said there are an estimated 1.2 million adult learners in the Commonwealth.
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"And many of these have some hours toward college credit," Thompson said, "but they have, in many cases tons of life experiences."

Schramm pointed out the number of jobs requiring qualified workers will continue to increase.

"Communities can't rely on on the K-12 pipeline to meet that need," Schrramm said. "They have to find ways to help empower older learners to obtain the college credentials that they'll need to have the types of jobs that will be growing in the future."

Among adults who have reported completing a work-experience program, the most commonly chosen fields are health care and teaching, according to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - KY