10,000th GED® Graduate from National Guard Program

The Army National Guard GED Plus Program allows American adults without a high school diploma to join the National Guard. Recently, the program graduated its 10,000th student. Since 39 million American adults lack a high school diploma, programs like this are essential in raising the education level of the United States and creating a qualified workforce. GED Plus has given Private Corey Blackwood a place in the National Guard.

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. 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 Lieutenant General Clyde A. Vaughn, a GED certificate 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. It 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 certificate 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.

The GED Plus Program is just one way to earn a high school equivalency diploma. States offer either the GED test, HiSET exam, or TASC test as a way to earn a high school credential. Like Private Blackwood, you can earn your diploma with a little bit of preparation and go on to new opportunities.


Aliza Mandelbaum, Educator