CLEVELAND - Walking across the stage to receive a diploma is a goal that many strive for, but some struggle to achieve.
Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) is making that dream a reality for 63 students of the college’s pilot of the Adult Diploma Program, program created by the Ohio Department of Education.
The program is a statewide effort, but Tri-C was selected as a pilot location for the program to begin.
All students were adults age 22 or older who left high school before graduation. The program allowed each student to earn a high school diploma while taking job-training courses to work in growing industries, such as health-care services, manufacturing, logistics and construction.
According to the Ohio Department of Education, there are approximately 1.1 million Ohio residents age 22 or older who dropped out of high school.
“It’s almost an expanded version of the GED program. Basically, what it’s doing is allowing the students to work towards their high school requirements, but there is a blended part of career training that goes into it. We had one of the pilot programs that is part of the state-wide program,” said John Horton, Tri-C Media Relations Manager.
Students take all coursework with peers of their own age group, allowing for comfort in the classroom. They select a career path from the initial days in the program, based on jobs that are experiencing growth and high demand in the Northeast Ohio area.
Specific job paths include automotive services, dental assistants, electricians, financial managers and information security agents, amongst others.
“Education is the key to success in life,” said JaNice Marshall, associate vice president of access and community engagement at Tri-C. “For each of these graduates, gaining a diploma and professional certification opens the door to a better future.”
The state of Ohio developed the Adult Diploma Program to connect undereducated Ohio residents with education and training needed to secure jobs with a living wage.
The program, which can take a maximum of two consecutive years to complete, requires students to complete standardized testing before admission.
The 63 graduates will be honored at a commencement ceremony on Thursday at the College’s Eastern Campus in Highland Hills.