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KDL Blog

Kent District Library delivers program to give residents access to accredited high school diplomas

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Grand Rapids Business Journal - Library system offering free diplomas and certifications
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Mlive - Kent District Library offering residents free access to accredited high school diplomas

Residents in Kent County now have the opportunity to obtain their high school diploma from their local public library. Kent District Library offers Career Online High School from Gale, a Cengage company, making it the first public library system in the state of Michigan to offer qualified residents the chance to earn a free, accredited, high school diploma.

Kent District Library is currently launching Career Online High School at its 19 branch libraries and is offering a limited number of scholarships to qualified adults (21 and older) who are looking to advance their careers, prepare for workforce entry or continue their education. There is no cost to students for the program, but enrollment is limited and requires a library card.

“With approximately 35,000 adults in Kent County without a high school diploma, we wanted to implement a program that gives our residents an opportunity to advance their education and achieve their career dreams,” said Lance Werner, Director at Kent District Library. “The life-changing impact the Career Online High School program has had within communities, enabling residents to further their education and earn their high school diploma to accomplish their career goals, made our decision to invest in the program easy. The program truly shows the economic value public libraries provide to communities and future workforces, and we couldn’t be more excited to be the first public library in Michigan to offer it.”

Once enrolled, students can access and complete program courses online from anywhere using a computer, laptop, or tablet or by using library computers, with up to 18 months to finish the program. Additionally, students can complete the program sooner by transferring previously earned high school credits or credits from any of the four GED subject areas tests that were passed at a Performance Level 2 or above (145+). Concurrently with the diploma, students earn a workforce certificate in one of 10 trade areas, ranging from protection officer to child care and education to home care professional.

With Career Online High School, Kent District Library cardholders can:

  • Earn an accredited high school diploma while preparing for a career in one of 10 high-demand, high-growth fields.
  • Take classes online, with the flexibility of 24/7 access to classwork.
  • Be supported by an academic coach and certified instructors who care about their success.
  • Gain career readiness with a career portfolio including a resume, a cover letter and job preparation support.

“Kudos to Kent District Library for investing in the education of its residents and recognizing the value their libraries bring to its communities and economic growth through workforce development,” said Paul Gazzolo, senior vice president and general manager at Gale. “We are thrilled and honored to be a trusted partner in providing Kent District Library with educational resources that help residents reach their education and career goals.”

KDL patrons interested in learning more about the program can visit KDL.org/cohs.