I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the Paul Simon Job Corps Winter 2015 graduation ceremony where 80+ young people graduated from the Job Corps, many with a Penn Foster High School diploma. Every opportunity I get to speak at a graduation ceremony, I am humbled by the level of grit, determination and commitment these young people have exhibited to get to this important milestone.

I hear time and time again, how before coming to Job Corps, they lost all hope, often due to their "failures" in a traditional high school setting. Not all students can attend school 8am " 3pm Monday through Friday. Some have small children of their own, or have to pick up the slack and serve as caregivers to their younger siblings or ailing parents. It is not because they are not smart, or lack the desire to further their education. These young people struggle with adult pressures and are unable to balance school and life. Unfortunately over 20% of high school students drop out of high school each year.

Organizations like Job Corps, provide students a safe haven to focus on bettering themselves, and becoming productive members of society by helping them get their high school diploma or equivalency and career-focused training. Through our partnerships with over 75 Job Corps centers, Penn Foster is able to play a role in helping these young people succeed. By delivering an academic curriculum in a format that is accessible and digestible, coupled with the dedicated teachers onsite at Job Corps, their confidence in learning is renewed and they emerge from the program prepared for college or a career.

Meet the graduates of Paul Simon Job Corps: