Lawmaker discusses ways to improve GED at Chester County OIC

MediaNews Group Feb 18, 2019

COATESVILLE— State Senator Andy Dinniman recently visited the Chester County Opportunities Industrialization Center’s (OIC) new home in Coatesville to discuss ways to improve access to high school equivalency credentials for those who may not have a high school diploma.

Dinniman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, said he would work in Harrisburg to provide alternative pathways to earning a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, much the same way that Pennsylvania has done with the Keystone Exams.

“If we’re providing alternative pathways to high school graduation, including SAT scores, apprenticeship programs, employment, and service-learning projects, among others, why not do the same for those taking the GED route?” he said. “Why should we put more obstacles in front of students who are often already facing the challenges of going back to school and finding their right career fit later in life?”

Last fall, through Dinniman’s leadership, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed Act 158, offering high school students several alternative ways to graduate, besides passing the controversial Keystone Exams. They include a combination of other alternatives, such as proficiency on the SAT, PSAT or ACT, passage of an AP exam, a letter of full-time employment, an acceptable score on a Work Keys assessment, or completion of a dual enrollment program, pre-apprenticeship program, or service learning project.

Dinniman said the same should be done with the GED test. He said he came to that conclusion after positive discussions with the staff and leadership of the Chester County OIC about their GED preparation program.

The OIC recently purchased and moved into its new location in Coatesville at the former site of the Coatesville Senior Center on 5th Ave. The organization, which retains a presence in West Chester and at other locations throughout the county, help prepare hundreds of individuals each year for employment and economic self-sufficiency. It provides free Adult Basic Literacy classes, General Education Diploma (GED) Prep, Certified Nursing Assistant Program and English as a Second Language (ESL) and Citizenship Training.

Most recently, the OIC honored Dinniman for his work with the 2018 Leon Sullivan Award.

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