GED

Andrea Leon (center), a work study student from Allegheny College, helps Jennette Rago (left) and Ray Gonzalez, both of Meadville, study for the math section of the General Educational Development (GED) test at the Crawford County READ Program at its Meadville facility on Walnut Street.

 

The Crawford County READ Program has boasted glowing GED program outcomes over the past few years and with good reason, if graduates such as Meadville resident Jennifer Rowe are any indication.

“For someone to not do it is ridiculous to me,” Rowe said. “They’re willing to help you in so many ways. I thought it was a wonderful program.”

Rowe spent about five months in the program before graduating in February 2013 and has since obtained a die casting position at cutting tool manufacturing and technology company Greenleaf Corp. of Saegertown.

Greenleaf had become something of a dream job for her, since her previous employer, Heatrex Inc., was bought out and her job there moved out of state in 2011.

One year later, she enrolled in the GED (General Educational Development) program.

“Basically I was looking for work, which is easier to do with a GED,” she said. “I applied at Greenleaf, which is where I work now, so it turned out wonderfully.”

The READ Program’s GED program graduated 32 Meadville-area residents in the 2012-13 class year and 30 so far in the 2013-14 year.

The Titusville area also saw 32 residents graduate the program in 2012-13 and 23 so far this year.

READ Program statistics report roughly 70 percent of those total graduates obtained or retained a job while about 25 percent pursued post-secondary education, according to Dr. Armendia Dixon, READ Program executive director.

Dixon reported the GED program went completely digital this past year, placing more emphasis on skills like critical thinking and reasoning while also requiring a basic working knowledge of computers.

“I think it’s been a smooth transition, much smoother than we had anticipated,” she said.

Months prior to the computerized changes, instructors held workshops to familiarize themselves with the new statewide GED curriculum standards.

“We also made sure that we talked about the new GED program in orientation so students were quite familiar with what they were getting into,” Dixon said. “It got rid of a level of stress students may have had just hearing about the new test.”

The latest GED test requires almost 150 hours of preparation and classes, which can be taken at a student’s own pace or in a traditional class format.

“The classes were pretty self-explanatory and you could take them a few times a week depending on what sections you needed to work on,” said Brandie Divine, another Meadville GED graduate.

Divine obtained her GED in December 2013 and has recently been saving up to potentially pursue some additional schooling for a career in cosmetology or massage therapy.

“I basically took it to help me get a better job,” she said. “In order to get a decent job any more you need a GED or (equivalent). Education’s the most important thing.”

Divine was impressed with the level of assistance from the READ Program’s GED instructors, who are willing to work one-on-one with any tough subjects, and even fellow classmates.

“I think it’s a really good process, especially for those who struggled in high school to at least try and get it,” she said. “If you need a GED or high school diploma, there are ways of getting it and there are people out there who will help you. Don’t hesitate.”

Rowe also recommended the READ Program’s GED classes, not only for their educational merit, but for the generous amount of assistance and scheduling flexibility they offer.

“They even help you with issues outside of schoolwork — personal, financial, etc.,” she said. “If you leave needing help, it’s your own fault for not asking.”

Prospective students interested in enrolling can contact the Crawford County READ Program Meadville office, 640 Walnut St., at 337-7323 or the Titusville office, 115 South Washington St., at (814) 827-0212.

Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kfekos@meadvilletribune.com.

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