A new version of the General Educational Development, or GED, test is coming in 2014. Anyone working on a GED now must pass all parts of the present version by the end of this year, or start the entire process over. Educators and people working with the business community say the deadline is an important reminder that completing a GED is more important than ever.
Amanda Smith says the GED is vital. Smith directs the Adult Education & Literacy Program at Rock Valley College.
“It really is the gateway to further employment , to further education. You always want to look to the next step, and the GED allows you to make that next step.” -Amanda Smith
Mark Jansen directs adult education programs at Highland Community College. He says the new GED will be computer-based and will add a technology component. He says that the test is just catching up with what’s happening in the world.
"One example is that right now it’s very unusual to see a paper and pencil job application. Most, particularly larger employers, are using online applications. -Mark Jansen
Jansen says it illustrates the rising bar that job-seekers face these days.
John Strandin is the Public Relations Manager for the Workforce Investment Board for Boone and Winnebago Counties. He cites a Georgetown University study that says two thirds of all jobs created in the U-S over the next several years will require training beyond high school.
“And if you haven’t finished high school or completed your GED, you are not eligible for the training that is required to get those jobs.” -John Strandin
Strandin says it’s all part of a larger change that has taken place in the economy.
“There was a time not terribly long ago that if your family situation required, you could drop out of school go to work in the factory and make a nice living. You could support a family. Those positions don’t exist anymore.” -John Strandin
Amanda Smith says she’s seeing more people who aren’t ready to start GED preparation classes, because their reading or math skills aren’t up to high school level. She says community colleges like Rock Valley, and other institutions, have started remedial programs to help those individuals, so they, too, can start down the path to a GED.
“What I love about our system of education in the US, is that we have that opportunity. That maybe high school wasn’t your thing, or you had some other challenges at the time, but now, we’re here and ready to help any way we can.” -Amanda Smith