In the 2021 state legislative session, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky was granted state funding to establish a one-of-a-kind high school for adults to earn their diplomas and workforce certificates. The school – better known as an Excel Center – provides a tuition-free opportunity for Kentuckians 18 years old or older who have dropped out of high school to earn a diploma in a unique environment that caters to the life demands they now face as adults.
To help its adult students succeed in earning their diplomas, the Excel Center features:
- Flexible eight-week class schedules
- Free on-site childcare
- Transportation assistance
- Industry-recognized certification options
- Career counselors who help graduates transition into college or meaningful careers
Why is an Excel Center Necessary?
In Kentucky, there are more than 300,000 working-age adults who have not completed high school or earned an equivalent certification. Their median annual earnings are $18,137 compared to the $25,191 per year that adults with a high school diploma earn. Using the Excel Center to help Kentucky create more high school graduates will:
- Generate more work-ready citizens to meet the growing needs of employers and subsequently reduce poverty in Kentucky
- Increase the number of adults who pursue post-secondary degrees
- Reduce recidivism and the criminal justice pipeline by improving the employability of Kentucky’s adult learners
- Evolve into a self-sustaining program by reducing the number of Kentucky citizens who rely on government subsidies while simultaneously increasing tax revenues by improving the earning potential of former high school dropouts
Built on a Successful National Model
The concept of the Excel Center was initiated by Goodwill Education Initiatives, Inc., a not-for-profit organization formed by Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana. Since the first Excel Center began operating in Indianapolis in 2010, 31 schools now operate under the leadership of multiple Goodwill organizations in six states and Washington DC.
As of December 2020, Excel Centers throughout the nation have produced the following results:
- 2020 Enrollment at 31 schools: 8,200
- 8,100 graduates since 2010
- Issued more than 6,700 industry-recognized certifications
- Graduates see an estimated 280% increase in average wages one year after graduation
- 70% of all graduates are employed six months after graduation (Prior to COVID-19)
- 38% of all graduates are enrolled in post-secondary education and 76% have a two-year persistency rate (Prior to COVID-19)
- Excel Center graduates are less likely to be incarcerated than the average high school dropout nationally
- Released inmates who graduate from an Excel Center are 43% less likely to be re-incarcerated
- African-American Excel Center graduates are 71% less likely to be incarcerated than the average African-American male high school dropout nationally
All criminal justice statistics above are controlled to look within a three-year window using data compiled from the Prison Policy Initiative, The Hamilton Project and the Bureau of Justice.
Where Is It Located?
Goodwill Industries of Kentucky will establish the state’s first Excel Center at 6201 Preston Highway in the Newburg neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky.
When Will It Open?
The Excel Center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2022
Who Can Enroll?
The school is accessible at no cost to Kentucky residents who are 18 years old or older and have not completed high school or earned their GED.
Contact: DeVone Holt, VP of External Affairs, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, 502-272-1710, DeVone.Holt@GoodwillKY.org