LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s first Excel Center, a tuition-free adult high school, opens on Tuesday, Oct. 4. On Wednesday, executives from Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, state and city officials visited the center in southern Louisville for the ribbon cutting.
What You Need To Know
- Goodwill’s Excel Center is a tuition-free adult high school
- Enrollment is still open ahead of its grand opening on Oct. 4
- It offers free, on-site day care, transportation assistance and the ability to earn college credit and industry-recognized certifications
- Nationally, graduates of the program have a 280% increase in average wages
There are currently 44,000 adults in Louisville who don’t have a high school diploma. Goodwill Industries and the state labor cabinet are looking to change that, making it possible for Kentucky adults to become high school graduates.
There are 81 students on the roster for the first eight-week term. Julie DeChurch is a teacher at the Excel Center. The former public school teacher said she saw a lot of students who didn’t graduate.
“And I always wondered what happened to those students when they left because I knew the only option for them was a GED program,” DeChurch said. “And I actually taught in the GED program and I saw that the success rate was really low.”
So DeChurch thought the prospect of these adults getting another shot at their high school diplomas at the Excel Center was a great idea.
So far, over 6,000 people have graduated from the program nation-wide. Each student will be individually paired with a life coach, like Gloria Alvarado, to help design a plan that aligns with their goals.
“With this excel center and the resource center being so close, is unbelievable. Because, if that student has that barrier—for instance, they need an electric bill paid, or their rent paid—I can send them across the street. [I can] say ‘hey, we have resources right here that can help you.’ So they can continue with their education and can meet their goals,” Alvarado said.
There’s even on-site day care. Plus — students will receive transportation assistance and the ability to earn college credit and industry-recognized certifications. There is no time limit to complete the program.
“We’ve had some students leave for a little bit and come back, and we don’t, as life coaches, give up on that student,” Alvarado said. “If they say they need a break, we give them that break. But we never forget about them. We always stay in contact with them.”
Nationally, graduates of the program have a 280% increase in average wages, officials said.
“What I’m most excited about is the end portion. When I see those students walk across that stage and they see that change in their life and going on to the next step in their lives,” said Edward Williams, a life coach at the Excel Center.
Anyone without a high school diploma is eligible, including those with a GED. Enrollment is still open.