ILLINOIS– Unemployment rates may be down in Illinois but many say it’s getting harder to land a job.
Jobseekers say 5 to 7 years of experience often isn’t enough but more than one million people in Illinois can’t even make it through the first step- a high school diploma.
“They’ve tried somethings that doesn’t really work for them or in their lives they’ve had something economically hold them back, life gets in the way all the time,” says Lincoln Library Director Will O’Hearn.
For years Springfield’s public library has hosted adult tutoring classes to help students complete high school.
“It’s not just something that benefits them but the community,” says O’Hearn.
And now he could see larger crowds here.
Come fall, tests like the GED won’t be the only path to a diploma.
Instead students can opt out of the test and take classes crafted by a teacher.
After they’ll be assessed on their competency.
“People aren’t a one size fits all so we need to kind of find out how we can do our best to kind of tailor what we do to help them,” says O’Hearn.
It’s an idea crafted by educational leaders across the state.
“It was really kind of a collaborative effort where they brought their concerns to the table if it,” says Community College Board Legislative Liaison Matt Berry.
He says this is part of a larger initiative to get more people jobs.
“There’s certainly a need to provide greater access to these adults in Illinois and we know that more jobs require some sort of training beyond a high school diploma.”
Another factor considered was cost. The price for taking a GED test is $125.
If they pass their class, they’ll save that money.
Other factors now considered will be college credit and foreign diplomas.
Teachers will also be able to pinpoint which parts of the test a student should take instead of forcing them to take the entire test.
While details are still being sorted out, new options will roll out Fall 2018.