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Department of Human Services to provide GEDDate: 09/27/2016
Beginning next week, the Department of Human Services (DHS) in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Career Education (DCE) will begin offering free GED® courses at two sites to employees and others in the community who were unable to previously satisfy high school graduation requirements for jobs.
The GED® test certifies high school-level knowledge and skills in the core academic areas of Reasoning through Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Mathematical Reasoning. Upon successful completion of the test, the Arkansas High School Diploma is awarded to the student.
Recent grad and DHS employee Susan Ferriel can personally attest to the effectiveness and convenience of the GED classes.
As a 17-year-old, Ferriel opted against continuing her high school education in order to start a family. Some 30 years later, the mother of two and grandparent of five could not move into other positions at the Arkansas Health Center where she works because she didn’t have a GED, so she decided to pursue it last year. Now 48, she is enthusiastic when expressing how much the decision to complete the GED has enhanced her life.
“I knew that having that certificate could open doors,” she said, “and after four months, I earned my GED at Pulaski Tech. I applied for a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) on my campus and got it. I love what I do. I go home feeling happy and accomplished. I see my GED certificate and CNA license hanging in my living room, and I am proud.
“I’m hoping one day to further my career and be a Licensed Practical Nurse,” she said. “In short, you’re never too old to go back to school and pursue your dreams.”
In 2009 the Office of Personnel Management began to require all state employees have a GED® or high school diploma. Persons who were already members of the DHS staff who did not meet the requirement were allowed to continue their employment with the state. However, advancement for those individuals has become difficult. The pool of potential direct care staff at state-run facilities is smaller, especially in rural areas, because of the requirement. State employees who do not have a high school diploma or GED® – or those who need to brush up on the areas of math and reading comprehension – are strongly encouraged to register.
GED® classes are being offered in conjunction with Arkansas Tech University, Pulaski Technical College and the Warren School District. The host sites for the classes are the Arkansas Health Center in Haskell and the Booneville Human Development Center. Classes will begin later this fall at the Southeast Arkansas Human Development Center in Warren. For more information about class times and locations, contact the sites directly at 501-860-0500 in Little Rock, 479-675-2121 in Booneville, and 870-226-6774 in Warren.
For more information on the GED® classes, contact Career Education at 501-682-1980 or visit http://ace.arkansas.gov/adultEducation/programs/GED/Pages/default.aspx.