A pilot program to offer accredited private high school diplomas and career certificates is now available online at 11 public library systems across Florida. The Career Online High School project is brought to residents in selected communities by the State of Florida and is administered by Smart Horizons Career Online Education through a partnership with Gale, a part of Cengage Learning. According to the United States Census Bureau, more than 1.2 million working residents of Florida aged 25 to 44 years of age, or 12.1% of the state’s working-age population, lack high school diplomas.
“We are excited to offer the Career Online High School to adults who wish to earn their high school diploma and pursue a career,” said Jacksonville Public Library Director Barbara Gubbin. “The nationally accredited program is smart, innovative, and is sure to make a positive impact on literacy, quality of life, and future economic growth in our community. We are proud to provide this great opportunity for adults through our Center for Adult Learning.”
“Adult students at libraries in many states have already seen success with Career Online High School,” said Paul Gazzolo, senior vice president and general manager at Gale. “We’re bringing a proven program to help libraries support local economic and workforce development but, more importantly, we’re helping libraries provide education that can lead to life changing opportunities – a better job, better pay, and a better life.”
Eleven libraries throughout the state applied to be a part of this initiative and will award scholarships for Career Online High School to qualified learners looking to earn private high school diplomas and advance their careers. Each student enrolled in Career Online High School is paired with an academic coach who offers ongoing guidance and encouragement, evaluates performance, and connects the learner with the resources needed to demonstrate mastery of the course material. Classes are supported by state board certified instructors, and students have 24/7 access to the online learning platform. Coursework begins in one of eight high-growth, high-demand career fields (across a wide spectrum, from child care and education to certified transportation) before progressing to the core academic subjects. Many students are able to graduate in as few as four to six months by transferring in previously earned high school credits.
“As a Florida- based company and the world’s first accredited online school district, this partnership with the State of Florida to offer Career Online High School at eleven public libraries located throughout the state is a very unique one for our team,” said Dr. Howard Liebman, Founder and Superintendent of Pensacola-headquartered Smart Horizons Career Online Education. “Public libraries have proven to be an ideal venue for COHS and now the residents of our own state have the opportunity for a brighter future by earning an AdvancED/SACS accredited high school diploma and entry-level workforce certificate.”
Interested Florida residents can visit http://www.careeronlinehs.gale.com/fl/ to learn more about the program and which libraries will be offering it.