Burr Ridge, Ill, and Farmington Hills, Mich, October 11, 2016. Gale, a Cengage company, and Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS), a state agency serving libraries in northern and western Illinois, are working together to offer accredited high school diplomas and career certificates at public libraries across the state. Through an innovative program, Career Online High School (COHS), Illinois adults in select communities who have a library card can participate in the program. Almost 1.5 million Illinois adults, or 11% of the population, do not have a high school diploma, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
"Providing an opportunity for any interested adult to earn a high school diploma is an important role libraries can play to support education, strengthen the Illinois workforce, and contribute to thriving communities across the state," said Veronda Pitchford, RAILS Director of Membership Development and Resource Sharing.
"Libraries in Illinois, and throughout the country, are making a strong impact on local economic and workforce development with Career Online High School," said Paul Gazzolo, senior vice president and general manager at Gale. "But more than that, libraries are providing education for their communities that can lead to life changing opportunities – a better job, better pay, and a better life."
Several public libraries throughout Illinois, including Addison, Chicago Ridge, Gail Borden, Glenside, McHenry, Mokena Community, and Waukegan, are currently offering the COHS program. More are expected to join. The participating libraries will award scholarships for Career Online High School to qualified learners looking to earn accredited high school diplomas and advance their careers. Each student enrolled in Career Online High School is paired with an academic coach who offers ongoing guidance and encouragement, evaluates performance, and connects the learner with the resources needed to demonstrate mastery of the course material. Classes are supported by state board certified instructors, and students have 24/7 access to the online learning platform. Coursework begins in one of eight high-growth, high-demand career fields (across a wide spectrum, from child care and education to certified transportation) before progressing to the core academic subjects. Many students are able to graduate in as few as six months by transferring in previously earned high school credits.
Interested Illinois residents can learn more about Career Online High School and which libraries are currently offering the program by visiting: http://www.careeronlinehs.gale.com/rails/.
About Career Online High School
Career Online High School was developed in 2012 through a partnership by ed2go, a division of Cengage that provides students with online continuing education and career training, and Smart Horizons Career Online Education in an effort to provide affordable, career-based online education opportunities for the millions of adults in the United States without high school diplomas. In 2014, the program was adapted for the public library market by Gale, a Cengage company. Since its launch, Career Online High School has been recognized as part of a Commitment to Action by the Clinton Global Initiative and acknowledged at the White House College Opportunity Summit.
About Cengage and Gale
Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. The company serves the higher education, K-12, professional, library and workforce training markets worldwide. Gale, a Cengage company, provides libraries with original and curated content, as well as the modern research tools and technology that are crucial in connecting libraries to learning, and learners to libraries. For more than 60 years, Gale has partnered with libraries around the world to empower the discovery of knowledge and insights – where, when, and how people need it. Gale has 500 employees globally with its main operations in Farmington Hills, Michigan. For more information, please visit www.gale.com.
About Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS)
The Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) is a multi-type library consortium serving over 1,300 libraries in a 27,000 square mile area in northern and west-central Illinois. RAILS provides continuing education and consulting, e-book services, delivery, shared online catalogs, talking book services and more. Information about RAILS is available at www.railslibraries.info.