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West Texas non-profit organization notices an uptick in younger adults earning GEDs

"The GED is a must. We gotta learn to walk before we can run," Marilynn Golightly, Adult Literacy Council of the Concho Valley program director, said.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — According to the Texas Education Agency, thousands of adults do not have a high school diploma. A local organization is trying to fix that.

Under a little less than a year, the Adult Literacy Council of the Concho Valley said their staff has seen a different population of students use the resources they provide to get their GED and other educational resources to be able to live and work.

“We have had traditionally before COVID. We had older people that were wanting to get their high school equivalent. They had missed school. And when I say older, it could be 20, 30, 40, 50, or the 90-year-old that are wanting to get their high school equivalent. It’s in their bucket list and they want that to be done…we saw more younger kids and I’m talking about 15 to 18-year-olds that have dropped and who were not doing their classwork necessarily at school or not having a computer,” Marilynn Golightly, Adult Literacy Council of the Concho Valley program director said.

Their volunteer tutors range from retired teachers, Goodfellow Air Force Base active duty servicemen, and women who are jumping in to help community members looking to earn their GED.

“We have some tutors that are gifted in math and want to help others be gifted in math. We have volunteers who are great…but everybody here is a volunteer and it’s wonderful and we match the students that come in regardless of their age. From 15 to 90, we match them with a volunteer and some of them work one on one and some of them work in small settings,” Golightly said.

The program aims to give students who walk through their doors the tools they need to pass their GED exams.

“It may just open a door for them and looking at what they may want to do next, but certainly a steppingstone. First things first are we really need to get people educated and passing,” Golightly said.

Golightly said having a GED is great to have when job searching.

“The GED is a must. We gotta learn to walk before we can run and certainly that is the groundwork. We have to have it. This day and time with many jobs. It’s waitressing jobs, telemarketing. They want a high school diploma,” Golightly said.

Howard College has a GED financial assistance program for any community member throughout the 13 surrounding counties to take the test by providing GED vouchers. Interested people can call (325)481-8323 and or email ael@howardcollege.edu. 

Concho Valley Workforce Solutions also has more information on federal grants and funding to help assist people with GED payments

Macy Hill, a native of Odessa, Texas, and currently living in San Angelo, is one of the students currently taking classes with the Adult Literacy Council of the Concho Valley. She said she dropped out of high school.

“It’s been good. My teacher is very helpful to me… I haven’t been really going to school here,” Hill said.

Now, Hill is one week into this program. She said she hopes to eventually become a grocery store cashier.

“When I moved here I didn’t take the classes anymore so I got real rusty and that’s why I came to the center…I’m progressing because my teacher makes me feel more comfortable with what I’m doing,” Hill said.

For more information about how to enroll in the Adult Literacy Council of the Concho Valley program, call 325-657-0013.

The Adult Literacy Council of the Concho Valley learning center is located right next to Concho Valley Transit District at 59 E. 6th St. in San Angelo.

The learning center is holding a book giveaway from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 30 and May 1 where they hope to share the love of reading while raising what their staff said are much-needed funds at this time.