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New high school opens for adults

The Excel Center Program, the first Arkansas high school where adults can earn a diploma, was created by Goodwill. (KATV Photo)

A brand new high school opens next week, the first of its kind in the state. The Excel Center only serves adults, helping them attain a diploma instead of a GED. A law passed in 2015 allowed the creation of the high school, and if it's successful, then more could pop up throughout Arkansas.

When classes begin next week, students, getting a second shot at a high school diploma, will fill these classroom seats, and these seats help fill a void in our state.

"In Arkansas, when you have 300,000 Arkansans 25 and older that do not have high school diplomas, we have a challenge to meet. We have work to do, and this is part of the solution," said Governor Asa Hutchinson.

The Excel Center Program was created by Goodwill.

"Why would Goodwill be willing to commit the substantial funds to support the operation of a high school? The answer to that is, it's our mission: changing lives through education, training and employment," said Brian Marsh, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Arkasnas.

Each student will be paired with a life coach. They can go full or part time, and the education is tailored to their schedules. Goodwill already operates several Excel Centers in other states.

"Our dream is to build these across the state of Arkansas, as Indiana has," said Marsh.

Indiana's program has a 90 percent graduation rate and nearly half of those students go on to get a college degree or certificate.

"Get them an education. Get them the training that they need. Then, get them a job. If we can do that as a state, it brings dignity. It brings meaning. It brings structure to an individuals life that's going to give them a better future," said Hutchinson.

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