New Attendance Milestone

Penn Foster High School and The Institute for Workforce Innovation’s Project YouthBuild Mark New Attendance Milestone and Celebrate Post-Graduate Success of Students

January 29, 2016

Penn Foster and Gainesville YouthBuild Chapter partner to provide pathway for students to enroll in college.

GAINESVILLE, FL (January 28, 2016) — Penn Foster High School, a leader in career-focused online and blended education, and The Institute for Workforce Innovation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the communities of north central Florida, today marked a new attendance milestone and celebrated the post-graduate success of students from the Project YouthBuild/Penn Foster High School Completion Program in Gainesville, FL.

Project YouthBuild and Penn Foster High School launched the High School Completion Program in Fall 2014, and the first round of 18 former high school dropouts earned their regionally and nationally accredited high school diploma through the program on August 6, 2015, walking across the stage to receive their diploma at a graduation ceremony with over 300 attendees.

Currently, seven of those graduates, more than a third of the class, are enrolled at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville.  Meanwhile last fall, Project YouthBuild has enrolled 22 students – the largest group of students ever enrolled  into the program - with the next graduation slated for April 2016.

The Institute for Workforce Innovation (IWI), located in Gainesville, is home to Project YouthBuild, which is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Labor and several other nonprofit, government, and industry partners committed to youth development and community engagement.

“We’re incredibly proud of all of our graduates from Project YouthBuild, and are excited to see so many of them pursue higher education, become valued members of the workforce and be leaders in their communities,” said Jonathan Leslie, executive director and chief executive officer of IWI. “The Penn Foster High School Completion Program has been a wonderful success here at Project YouthBuild - we even have alumni students who had previously worked towards their GED with us switch to Penn Foster after hearing they could earn their regionally and nationally accredited high school diploma with Penn Foster.”

Leslie added: “The accreditation of the Penn Foster high school program has added much credibility to our program in the eyes of the community here in north central Florida. Through the blended learning model, students benefit from one-on-one instruction from dedicated teachers, while learning at their own pace through Penn Foster’s  online student portal.”

One graduate of the program, Martel Fomby, enrolled in an EMT program at Santa Fe College while he was a student with Project YouthBuild. After graduating in August, Martel is now pursuing his dream of becoming an EMT and attending college full time. The Penn Foster high school completion program is supplemented by two Project YouthBuild elective components: Construction, for hands-on career-skills training, and Leadership Development, where students dive into career exploration, life and career-skills coaching, volunteerism, and community impact. The Penn Foster program counts towards AmeriCorps training hours, where students can become eligible for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, which provides  scholarships for postsecondary education.

Penn Foster High School graduates over 20,000 students nationwide each year, many of whom have aged out of the traditional high school system. As a partner of YouthBuild USA, Penn Foster’ High School program is currently offered at 10 YouthBuild centers across the country.

About Project YouthBuild at the Institute for Workforce Innovation
Launched by IWI in 2009 through a grant directly from the US Department of Labor, Project YouthBuild is an intensive 7-month academic, occupational, and leadership skills program that serves young people ages 16 – 24 with low incomes who have dropped out of school.  While in Project YouthBuild students have the opportunity to earn their High School diploma, multiple nationally recognized construction certifications, participate in a rigorous leadership development program, volunteer in their community and rehabilitate affordable housing. For more information, visit

About Penn Foster
Founded in 1890, Penn Foster has been a leader in career-focused distance and blended learning for 125 years through its high school, career school and college. Through direct enrollment by students as well as partnerships with schools and businesses, more than 13 million people have taken Penn Foster-enabled courses to further their education and better position them for life success. Today, Penn Foster enrolls more than 100,000 new students each year in programs designed to address the gap in middle skilled careers. Penn Foster combines affordable career-oriented education with a flexible delivery model ranging from pure play online to onsite hybrid learning solutions. For more information, visit


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