It is a staggering statistic. More than 460,000 Hoosiers do not have a high school diploma. Goodwill Industries of Central and Southern Indiana believes its Excel Centers, high schools for adults that launched ten years ago, are playing a part in reducing that number. Chief Executive Officer Kent Kramer says the proof is in the life changing impact experienced by graduates.
“This is a true high school diploma, but 99 percent get additional industry-recognized certifications and college dual credit, so what we see is them either going on to further education or going right into the workforce, so we’re seeing immediate success,” said Kramer, who notes three years after enrollment, students have seen an average $17,000 wage gain.
Kramer talked about the Excel Center model and a recent major gift on this weekend’s edition of Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick.
When Goodwill launched the Excel Center idea a decade ago, there were 300 available seats in that first school. Six months later, there was a waiting list of 2,000.
That obvious demand has led to expansion in Indiana and beyond.
There are currently 15 Excel Centers in central and southern Indiana and 16 additional schools in five states and the District of Columbia, through licensing agreements.
Goodwill recently announced a major gift from longtime donor and former board chair Gene Zink and his family. The donation of a building valued at more than $1 million will result in the creation of a permanent home for The Excel Center in the Meadows area on Indianapolis’ near northeast side.