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Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that the March unemployment rate in the United States is 5.5%. On the surface, this is great news despite the flat month-to-month performance. However, if we dig deeper into the data the numbers are still bleak for several key constituents of the employment economy, and education and training are likely the vital factor to addressing chronic challenges in the overall unemployment rate. Take for example the U-6 unemployment rate, the indicator often viewed as the best overall measure of employment. This metric includes total unemployed, plus those who are working part-time because they are unable to find full-time work, as well as those who are too discouraged to be considered actively seeking full-time work. That number is also declining as the economy improves, but is still a staggering 11% or over 17 million people.1
High school completion programs are giving students the opportunity to earn the qualifications they need to pursue career-focused higher education. Over 80 career school campuses have already launched high school completion programs to date, and they are finding that the majority of high school graduates who emerge from the program are confident, highly motivated to succeed, and are matriculating into their school. Before your school president begins asking you about High School Completion programs, familiarize yourself with these 5 questions you should know about them:
In 2012, the Library Journal called non-traditional students the new majority. That trend has not changed - non-traditional is the new traditional. In response, the academic landscape and higher education institutions have shifted to meet the needs of non-traditional students with diverse backgrounds. As these students graduate and eagerly enter the workforce, employers may be hesitant to embrace this new majority.
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.
The high school graduation rate in the United States hit 81% in the 2012-2013 school year, the highest it's been since states adopted a new, uniform method for calculating graduation rates five years ago. This measurable improvement in our nation's schools, revealed in new data from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, is something that "we can take pride as a nation in," according to U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. "This is a vital step toward readiness for success in college and careers for every student in this country, and these improvements are thanks to the hard work of teachers, principals, students and families."
20-25% of students who inquired about enrolling at Dorsey Schools didn't have the GED or High School Diploma that they need to enroll. Dorsey Schools noticed this discrepancy and began looking for a way to enroll this population of potential students. After implementing a High School Completion program, they found that the majority of these students matriculated into their schools, and that these students are more confident and motivated learners after having gone through the program. Denise Fox Pratt, VP of Institutional Effectiveness at Dorsey Schools, spoke during a breakout session at the 2014 ACICS Annual conference about the three criteria they were looking for in a High School Completion partner.
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2015 is an exciting year for Penn Foster. We celebrate 125 years in education and honor a history that has shaped Penn Foster (formerly known as International Correspondence Schools) into the profound educational institution it is today.

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