Beginning Feb. 5, the Batesville Memorial Public Library will be a site for free GED preparation classes Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., reports library director Mike Kruse. “We are working with River Valley Resources to provide this program to the community.”
GED program director Molly Dodge, Madison, reports, “We’ve had a lot of calls from interested learners.”
Area residents who want to take General Education Diploma (GED) classes have two other options: Osgood Public Library, 136 W. Ripley St., Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. starting Feb. 11; and Franklin County Government Center, Room 102, 1010 Franklin Ave., Brookville, Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (ongoing).
The free classes are funded through the Indiana Department Workforce Development.
Batesville and Osgood classes will be taught by Mary Margaret Kraut. Betty Logan is the instructor in Brookville, according to Dodge.
Anyone 16 or older who has officially withdrawn from school can enroll in the program.
There are steps to earning the diploma, according to the Web site: call the GED hotline; take a 90-minute assessment either at a WorkOne office or GED classroom; participate in orientation; enroll in a class and maintain attendance; and take the national GED test to earn the diploma.
“The results of the assessment help RVR determine what subjects or concepts the learner will study in class. Learners will not spend their time studying subjects or concepts they already know.” Classes area customized for each student.
How long it takes to earn the diploma varies. “Students who commit to the program can earn their GED in as little as six weeks,” the Web site explains.
Sometimes class times may not be convenient for students with work or child care commitments. Learners who participate in 12 hours of class instruction will have the opportunity to prepare for the GED by using an online tool.
RVR uses pre- and post-tests to document a learner’s progress. Instructors want all persons to be ready before they spend the money to take the national test.
It’s made up of five subtests – writing skills, social studies, science, literature and the arts, and mathematics – and can take up to 10 hours to complete. Those who are successful receive GED diplomas issued by the state.
The instructor is not allowed to administer the test, Dodge says. A paper version costing $70 is offered in Columbus, Madison, North Vernon and Seymour. An online version costing $120 is available in Lawrenceburg and Madison. The hotline has the testing schedule.
Saving up $70 or $120 to take the test “is a huge barrier for some of our learners. They’re underemployed or unemployed high school dropouts. They might be pregnant or parenting.”
Students enrolled in RVR’s GED program may qualify for test scholarships, which are based on financial need and a student’s performance. “We are so fortunate” community foundations in Ripley and Franklin counties have contributed dollars for scholarships, Dodge notes.
During 2011-12, the GED program in Ripley, Franklin, Dearborn, Jefferson, Ohio and Switzerland counties had 106 participants. About 70 percent earned their diplomas.
The program director points out, “We know GED is just the first step for someone looking to improve their employability and skills. It’s our goal to move these learners from GED classes into some type of postsecondary training. With an (increased) Ivy Tech presence in Batesville, we’re hoping to make a seamless pathway.”
Successful graduates of River Valley Resources’ GED program can apply for training vouchers to earn one of these certifications: Commercial Drivers License; Certified Nurse Assistant; computer support specialist; Computer Numerical Control operator; heating, ventilation and air-conditioning; medical billing and coding; Certified Production Technician; Skills, Tasks And Results Training (START) hospitality certification; and welding, according to the Web site.
HOW TO GET STARTED
• The GED toll-free hotline number is 855-591-7849. The River Valley Resources Web site can be found at www.rivervalleyresources.com.
• The nonprofit River Valley Resources, Madison, was founded in 1990 to help low-income and disadvantaged Hoosiers obtain and maintain gainful employment. Since its inception, RVR has managed over $250 million in federal, state and local workforce development-related grants and contracts. RVR is currently responsible for administering more than $1.8 million in federal Workforce Investment Act funds in Indiana. The agency provides programs and services in 14 counties in southeastern and central Indiana.