AP reporter Julie Watson reports that the Los Angeles Public Library will be partnering with educational publisher Cengage Learning to offer a high school diploma program for adults and out-of-school youth—reportedly the first time a public library system has offered such a program. The library hopes to grant high school diplomas to 150 adults in the first year.
According to Watson, the library’s director, John Szabo, has already introduced 850 online courses for continuing education and a program that helps immigrants complete the requirements for U.S. citizenship.
It ail be interesting to see how this all plays out. It’s clear from Cengage’s press release that they expect to bring the program to other public libraries across the country.
It also marks the entry of Cengage Learning into the high school equivalency credential market.
Here’s an example of Workforce Innovation Fund dollars being used on a major education project for out-of-school youth: Los Angeles new Youth Source Centers, a redesign of a program that used to be focused on helping in-school youth look for jobs, but will now be focused on helping out-of-school youth 16-21 to get their high school diploma or pass the General Educational Development (GED) test. The new centers are funded in part by a $12 million grant from the Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation Fund.
(via Intersections South LA)
UPDATE 10/27/12: An article posted to the National League of Cities blog, CitiesSpeak.org, puts this initiative in context, noting that it is one of several “dropout reengagement initiatives” now operating in cities such as Davenport, Iowa, and Boston, Massachusetts. The author advises municipal leaders to keep an eye on these efforts, as “[m]oving dropouts back into school holds great promise for achieving credentials at the high school level and beyond.” There is a reference to cross-collaboration as a common element of these initiatives; I wonder to what extent—if any—existing adult education systems (which, in many areas, have traditionally provided the bulk of educational services to out-of-school youth) are employed in these efforts.