Little Rock (KATV) — Graduation season is not over yet. On Thursday, the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services celebrated their graduates from the Adult Education program.
The state's director for better education, Dr. Trina Miles told KATV these graduates can help boost the economy.
The program graduated more than 220 people in the Central Arkansas area who received their GED. She said this group of graduates can now make a better life for their families.
“Right now there are 300,000 Arkansans that do not have a high school diploma, and so helping these individuals make these choices to get qualified for jobs and improve the outcomes of their families; It actually contributes to the Arkansas workforce as well is very important," said Dr. Miles
Miles said they serve all 75 counties in the state. She also said many of their graduates have already had to overcome many different challenges while pursuing their GED.
“It changes individual lives for generations to come, now you have parents that are educated who can also help help their children become educated and get a job and be able to take care of themselves," said Dr. Miles.
Mandy Gipson is a mother of four daughters and six grandchildren.
She told KATV walking to receive her GED has been years in the making and called it an opportunity of a lifetime. Gipson said all of her children have received their high school diploma including her youngest three week ago who graduated from Central High School.
“They just kind of fell into me it is made me feel like I’m the most important person in the world, which I am in the world," Gipson said.
Dalton Smith graduated under the Adult Education program 10 years ago. In his commencement speech, he wanted to convey to graduates that they have the opportunity to change the stigma from those who receive their GED.
“Through The tools that they gave us I was able to overcome that adversity, and the great thing is that if I did it’s possible for any of these graduates," Smith said.
Smith told KATV because of the program he pursued his master's degree and has several businesses in the tiny house industry.
Gipson said the next step in her journey of life will move into becoming an educator.
“I feel like our youth need us and I wanna get back what was given to me in the short time that I’ve been in adult Ed, I’ve learned so much and teachers are so important," she said. "So I want to be a part of that to help someone else grow."
According to Miles, Arkansans who receive their GED or high school diploma can earn an average of $10,000 more than those without one. She said their program ranks fourth in the nation on passing rates.