Missouri is offering a new way for working adults to earn a high school diploma
Missouri workforce diploma courses are available to residents older than 21 at no charge, and they're an alternative to preparing for an equivalency exam.
In addition to an equivalency certificate, the State of Missouri now offers a second option to adults without high school diplomas. New workforce diplomas are awarded for online coursework, rather than for passing an exam.
“The adult education and literacy classes and high school equivalency prepare people to take a test, which is the high school equivalency exam. And the workforce diploma program provides a diploma based on credit hours. So, it’s more like a diploma in the traditional high school in the K-12 system,” explained Megan Wadley, coordinator of adult education and literacy for the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
“For some students, doing online coursework and earning credits is better for them than preparing for an exam and going to take that exam,” she said.
Courses are available to Missouri residents older than 21 at no charge. They are provided by the online education service Graduation Alliance. How long it takes to complete varies by student.
“Whether you’re doing the workplace diploma program or the high school equivalency program, it really depends on what your starting level is, how long it’s going to take,” Wadley said. “The workforce diploma program, they evaluate your transcript and provide assessments to make sure they’re starting you at the right class level.”
“A student can earn this workforce diploma, and at the same time they’re going to be learning basic employability skills, like how to create a resume and interview, that kind of thing. And they also have the option to study in a specific career pathway and earn credentials,” Wadley added.
A wide range of people use the high school equivalency program and are also expected to take advantage of the workforce diploma program.
“We do get some students who were homeschooled, especially during COVID, and they became disconnected perhaps and dropped out,” Wadley said. “But we also see people all the way up to 50 and 60 years old who want to help their grandchildren with their homework or want to have a better career. Maybe someone who wants to earn a credential to earn more money and better themselves.”
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