As schools and universities across the country celebrate graduation season, 18 adults were recognized for completing their high school education through Career Online High School, a program offered by the City of San Diego and San Diego Public Library. On Wednesday, May 24 these students were presented with certificates of achievement during a ceremony in the Neil Morgan Auditorium at the San Diego Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common.
With 18 graduates, this year’s graduating class is the largest in San Diego since Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer launched Career Online High School in 2015.
“Education is the ladder to success and this program provides an extra rung for these San Diegans,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “I’m proud of these students seizing the opportunity and wish them all the best as they pursue rewarding careers.”
As part of the Career Online High School program, scholarships are awarded to qualified adults who want to earn a diploma and prepare for a successful career. To qualify, applicants must be 19 years old, have a San Diego Public Library card in good standing and either be an employee or resident of the City of San Diego.
“Programs like Career Online High School are crucial to ensuring that residents of San Diego overcome educational barriers that lead to better careers and an improved quality of life,” said City Councilmember Georgette Gómez, who represents Council District 9 where a majority of the graduates in the 2017 class reside. “The program not only helps residents get their high school diploma, but helps develop the skills needed to overcome the reasons they did not finish high school in the first place.”
In San Diego County, approximately 15 percent of people over the age of 25 do not have a high school diploma. The unemployment rate for this group is double that for high school graduates.
Since 2015, 31 adults have graduated from Career Online High School including Kathleen Shade, who is now enrolled at San Diego Community College and working on her associate degree in computer business technology.
“Finishing what I did not have an opportunity to complete all those years ago has been an amazing experience for me and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity,” said Shade.
Currently, 39 students are actively enrolled in Career Online High School. Participants have the flexibility to take classes and access schoolwork online at their own pace and receive free support and educational resources from the library. While earning an accredited high school diploma as part of the program, students are also preparing for a career in one of eight high-demand, high-growth industries, including child care and education, homeland security, and transportation services.
Many students are able to complete the program in as few as six months, but students are given 18 months to finish.
“Our libraries are providing knowledge and information that can truly transform peoples’ lives,” said Misty Jones, Library Director. “This program provides the opportunity to not only earn a high school diploma but also to learn new skills, start a career, and get a promotion. Possibly more important than all of that, it gives students the self-confidence to help them succeed in life.”
As a nationally accredited school, Career Online High School is offered in partnership with the San Diego Public Library Foundation and Gale, a leading provider of library resources and part of Cengage Learning. For more information, visit www.sandiego.gov/diploma. To learn more about supporting library programs, contact the San Diego Public Library Foundation at 619-238-6695 and www.SupportMyLibrary.org.