By Michael Ormsby
The Army National Guard GED Plus Program, an alternative that allows American adults without a high school diploma the opportunity to join the National Guard, recently graduated its 10,000th student. Since 39 million American adults lack a high school diploma, leaving them undereducated and under qualified for jobs and higher education, the GED® exam is essential in raising the education level of the United States and creating a qualified workforce. The GED exam is a gateway for American adults without a high school diploma to reach out for better jobs and higher education, and it has given Private Corey Blackwood a place in the National Guard.
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The GED Plus Program is a school at the National Guard Professional Education Center, in Camp Robinson, North Little Rock, Arkansas. Prospective students must meet enlistment requirements and score a minimum of 50 on the Armed Forces Qualification Test, and then they enter a 15 or 22-day program that includes military basic training along with academic preparation The program gives those like Blackwood a second chance.
Blackwood dropped out of high school to help his family and his ill mother in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Like many who didn’t finish high school Blackwood soon felt the need to move forward positively with his life The GED Plus Program has given him a route to do that.
The GED Plus Program began in 2006 and graduated 493 National Guard recruits in its first year. It was started by Lieutenand General Clyde A. Vaughn a GED recipient and former director of the Army National Guard. Now, GED Plus graduates around 3,000 adults per year, and the program sports a brand new 90,000-square-foot building with 22 classrooms and 12 barracks and can host up to 7,500 students per year. Each graduate represents a life changed and a positive opportunity for the future, for American communities and for our national defense.
Blackwood said, “I didn’t give up, now I’ve got my GED and I’m going to serve my country. It’s possible you’ve just got to keep trying.” After completing his National Guard training Blackwood plans to go on to college and an associate degree in criminology.
You can find more information about the Army National Guard GED Plus Program here: http://www.nationalguard.com/benefits/enlistment-options/ged-plus