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Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

When people think about disrupters, particularly in the education space, they think of start-ups, or moocs (massive open online courses), or perhaps an LMS (learning management system). They don't often think of a 125 year old institution that started out as a correspondence school created to train coal miners on safety after a series of unfortunate mining accidents.
This year Penn Foster is celebrating our 125th year anniversary as a distance learning education institution dedicated to serving our students and meeting them where they are at, both physically and academically.  As a recent blog post about Penn Foster on the Christensen Institute website recently pointed out, you can never be "too old to disrupt". We are proud that we continually innovate within the online and blended learning education sector. We deliver affordable, accredited paths to academic credentials to tens of thousands of students across America every year.
Frank Britt, CEO of Penn Foster, was recently featured on The Hill's Congress Blog for lawmakers and policy professionals for his point of view on the trends of workplace training and education, and the evolving role of employers in education.
I was able to attend the YouthBuild USA 2015 National Directors Association Meeting in Arlington, Virginia. The meeting brought together directors from over 100 YouthBuild programs across the country. Here are my top three takeaways from the conference:
Last week was designated as National School Choice Week and is a nonpolitical and nonpartisan celebration of effective education options for children. The week shines a positive spotlight on all types of education options for children " from traditional public schools to public charter schools, magnet schools, online academies, private schools, and homeschooling.
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The U.S achieved an 80% high school graduation rate in 2012, a triumphant milestone for education. But the remaining 20% still represent a population of young people who not only exclude themselves from a future of opportunity, but inadvertently produce negative consequences for higher education, local job markets, communities, and the overall economy.
Partnering with a high school completion program and graduating high school non-completers provides career colleges with strong students for their career college programs. These students become eligible to matriculate to your career college and have already undergone a motivational, empowering learning experience and arrive ready to learn and succeed.
Each day 7000 students are faced with the tough decision of leaving high school. Despite the common misconceptions about this group of learners, many don't have a choice, and are in need of help navigating the hazards of poverty, violence, neglect, abuse, health issues, death or incarceration of family. However, when given an opportunity to return to school, these students are filled with motivation and often refute the stereotypes high school dropouts are labeled by.
Earlier this year we announced Penn Foster's 125th anniversary, and today we are excited to announce the launch of our multi-media campaign where students, alumni and partners can share their stories and contribute their experiences and be showcased as part of the larger Penn Foster story. Serving as a time capsule of sorts, this micro-site will live and grow throughout our 125th year, and will highlight Penn Foster facts and figures, highlight student and partner success stories, and spotlights on Penn Foster employees with over 25 years with the school.
We recently sat down and spoke with Shatea Hill. Shatea shared a story similar to ones we have heard before. A smart student heads down the wrong path, and struggles to find an onramp back to higher education. Career schools unfortunately have to turn these students away who lack proof of high school graduation, but Dorsey Schools now offers a High School Completion program through Penn Foster, which allows students like Shatea to earn a high school diploma, find that onramp, and go on to higher education. Here's her story: 

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