Arts & Entertainment, Education, and Human Resources

Library system offering free diplomas and certifications

June 4, 2019
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Kent District Library KDL Wyoming branch
The nearly 49,000-square-foot Wyoming library is the largest branch in the Kent District Library network. Courtesy KDL

Kent County residents can obtain high school diplomas and certifications for free from the public library.

Kent District Library, or KDL, is offering the accredited program through Career Online High School of Farmington Hills-based Gale, a company of the Boston-based educational technology company Cengage.

The library system is launching the program at its 19 branch libraries for qualified adults ages 21 and older who have successfully completed eighth grade. There is no cost to students for the program, but enrollment is limited and requires a library card.

Concurrently with the diploma, students earn a workforce certificate in one of 10 trade areas, including protection officer, child care, education and home care.

Students of the program also receive mentoring from an academic coach and certified instructor, as well as develop a resume, cover letter and job-preparation skills.

“With approximately 35,000 adults in Kent County without a high school diploma, we wanted to implement a program that gives our residents an opportunity to advance their education and achieve their career dreams,” said Lance Werner, director, Kent District Library.

“The life-changing impact the Career Online High School program has had within communities, enabling residents to further their education and earn their high school diploma to accomplish their career goals, made our decision to invest in the program easy.”

Students can complete program courses online, with up to 18 months to finish the program. Students can complete the program sooner by transferring previously earned high school or GED credits

Interested students can take an online assessment.

Once the self-assessment is completed, prospective students will be contacted by their libraries, and if eligible, be given a link to a two-week pre-requisite course.

Those who pass the pre-requisite course with a score of 70% or above within two weeks will then be interviewed in person by their libraries to determine acceptance.

The coursework is available in English only.

KDL has budgeted for 25 scholarships for 2019.

Those not offered a place through KDL will be referred to a local high school completion program.

The cost to the library is $2,695 per student, though it will decrease as enrollment increases. 

KDL is welcoming donations to help support scholarships. Two scholarships so far have been funded through donations. To donate, contact Claire Horlings, development manager, at 616-784-2092.

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