As the population of learners diversifies, the options available to them are changing too.
Community-based Goodwill organizations across the country offer a variety of programs designed specifically for non-traditional learners. The Excel Center — now operating in 25 cities — provides adults the chance to earn their high school diplomas, industry-recognized job certifications and college credits, all at no cost.
Founded in 2010 by Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana, The Excel Center is dedicated to ensuring that adult learners get the tools they need to succeed. Each Excel Center offers supports such as free onsite child care, a life coach and transportation assistance. With expedited curriculum and flexible scheduling, students can graduate quickly, prepared to earn higher wages or to pursue postsecondary education.
My experience at The Excel Center was absolutely life-changing, said Dylan Snell of Anderson, IN.
By age 19, Dylan had dropped out of high school, was homeless and was facing a felony theft charge. After 12 weeks at The Excel Center, Dylan graduated with a high school diploma and some college credits. Today, he works as a project manager for an electrical supply company.
Beyond high school, Goodwill organizations partner with more than 140 community colleges nationwide. Goodwill also collaborates with employers to develop training and apprenticeship programs.
Most people think that Goodwill is just a retail store, but it's so much more than that, said Chelsea Rucker of Nashville, TN.
Chelsea was living in a shelter with her two daughters when she enrolled in a technology certificate program at Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. She subsequently landed her dream job as a data technician at Google, and has moved her family into a three-bedroom house.
When you shop at Goodwill, you help people like Dylan and Chelsea achieve their goals. Revenue from store sales goes back into local communities to fund job placement and training programs.
As the first day of class rolls around, consider going back to school or learning new skills through Goodwill, or show support for the nontraditional learner by planning a back-to-school shopping trip at your local Goodwill store.