Local learning center helps Tennessee adults earn their diploma for free

CHESTER COUNTY, Tenn. — According to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, nearly 700,000 Tennesseans between the ages of 18 and 64 do not have a high school diploma. But across the state, free classes are available to bridge that educational gap.

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 1.08.02 PMInside the Henderson/Chester County Technology Center, adults are taking steps toward earning their high school diploma. Through the adult education program, students are preparing for the High School Equivalency Test, better known as HiSET.

“It serves the same purpose as a high school diploma,” said Chester County Adult Education Program Assistant LaTasha Phillips. “And they actually qualify for the scholarships and stuff just like they were graduating from high school.”

They will host an orientation Wednesday for students interested in starting the program. Although there is no timetable for completing the test preps, classes are offered during the day and at night for free.

“We have state vouchers where once they achieve certain scores on their practice test we will actually pay for them to take the test,” Phillips said. “So it is literally free other than their transportation.”

Once students pass the High School Equivalency exam, staff members also assist students looking for new job opportunities. According to studies, a person with a high school diploma averages about $10,000 more a year than a high school dropout. So no matter how long a student may need to prepare for their exam, the adult learning staff say they are happy to help.

“If you want this and it’s important to you, this is something you can do — you just show up and come to class and we’ll do our best to help you get finished,” Phillips said.

Orientation at the Henderson/Chester County Technology Center starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday. For more information on the Adult Education Program, call 731-989-9407.

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