Goodwill LEADS Inc., which operates The Excel Center in South Bend, is a month away from classes beginning at its new tuition-free adult high school in Hammond. The organization says the program will serve some 51,000 Lake County adults without a high school diploma. Excel Center students work toward Indiana Core 40 Diplomas, industry certifications and college credits.
The South Bend location opened in December of 2015. The program in northern and northwest Indiana is an expansion network location of Indianapolis-based Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana Inc.’s The Excel Center, which has 12 locations in Indianapolis, Anderson, Clarksville, Kokomo, Lafayette, Noblesville, Richmond and Shelbyville. In addition to South Bend, there are expansion network locations in Austin, Texas, Memphis, Tennessee and Washington, D.C.
Goodwill LEADS Inc. is a nonprofit affiliated with Goodwill Industries of Michiana Inc. President Debie Coble says "our goal is to focus on career and college readiness including a Life Coaching staff who work with students to keep them engaged in their learning." Lakeshore Chamber Executive Director Dave Ryan adds "having a well-skilled workforce is essential to the continued economic development of our community. The Excel Center provides an opportunity for people to earn credentials and develop skill sets that will have a positive impact on their futures. Their growth and development will also strengthen the workforce system and ensure opportunity."