By Michael Ormsby
Over 39 million adult Americans lack a high school diploma or GED credential, putting them at a disadvantage in the job market and disqualifying them for higher education. The statistics are clear. American adults without a high school degree or equivalent are unemployed at higher rates and make far less money than those with a high-school level education. The GED® diploma is an important step to get adults without a high school diploma back on track. Looking at the individual stories of GED-earners gives important perspective, in addition to simply seeing the employment and earnings statistics.
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Mario Rocha is a GED earner. At 16, he was imprisoned for murder, with a life sentence, though he denied being guilty. After ten years in jail, California’s appellate court judged that Rocha’s attorney did not represent him adequately. While imprisoned as a juvenile, Rocha worked to get a GED diploma, as well as fighting for his freedom and discovering writing through InsideOUT, a writing program. At 31, Rocha visits GED graduates and speaks to new GED earners. He tells GED graduates his own definition of “GED”: Get Everything you Deserve.
Ryan Behnke was thrown out of Springstead High School in Florida, where administrators claimed he could not graduate in time with a GPA below 1.162. After leaving school, Behnke studied on his own to get a GED diploma. In six months, he earned the GED test credential, and now hopes to enroll in a trade school to become an automotive mechanic or chef. Behnke remembers struggling in school and falling behind. In school, he never caught up, but the GED program gives him a chance to move forward in his life.
Kenneth Neal and Sharon James, of Putnam County, Tennessee, are a different kind of GED success story. They met at Putnam Adult High in a GED test prep program, where they were both studying to earn GED diplomas. Now, they are engaged to be married. Kenneth dropped out of school in 8th grade to get a job in a shirt factory. When he found himself laid off after 30 years in factory and truck driving jobs, he learned that a high school diploma has become a requirement for most jobs. Sharon dropped out of school in 11th grade to become a wife and mother. After she was divorced, she soon realized that she would eventually need a GED test credential to compete in the job market, as well.
The stories of GED earners are stories of accomplishment, hard work, and hope for the future. They inspire the millions of Americans who need a GED diploma, and they give a face to the need for GED test prep programs that work.
Michael Ormsby is the president of the GED Academy and oversees software and curriculum for adult learners and people with educational challenges. For more information, visit passGED.com. Michael can be contacted by telephone at 800-460-8150.