Are you – or would you like to become – a second chance employer? Or do you have a large percentage of workers who don’t have a high school diploma?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may want to consider offering your employees the benefit of getting their GED high school equivalency credential through GEDWorks.
GEDWorks is an all-inclusive benefit program that helps participants earn their high-school equivalency credential. It includes custom study plans, practice tests, an advisor for each learner and tutoring for those who need it. And it’s a great way for employers, nonprofits or other organizations to improve their workforce and be more attractive to job seekers.
The program is offered by Pearson and the American Council on Education, the parent organizations of the GED Testing Service, which administers testing for the widely accepted GED high school equivalency credential.
Currently about 100 companies and organizations offer this benefit. These include KFC, Amazon, Pizza Hut, Flagger Force, Taco Bell, Southeastern Groceries, Texas Dept. of Transportation, Total Wine & More, Mandarin Oriental, The Cheesecake Factory, Manpower, Epi Breads and Humana.
Here’s how offering a high school equivalency credential works
The first step is to sign up for the program on the GEDWorks website. “Then, A client comes onboard and we build them a portal that they can direct their employees or participants to. When a name shows up in the portal, we can reach out to participants,” says Geri Martin, vice president of revenue for GEDWorks and Accelerated Pathways.
There’s an initial orientation during which the students are asked their personal goal for getting the GED. At that time, the first practice tests are assigned. The GED has four subjects – mathematical reasoning, reasoning through language arts, social studies and science.
“We have a team of advisors who work with our learners. It’s all done online or over the phone. The typical client is an employer, but we work with small organizations, nonprofits and Medicaid, as well,” Martin adds.
She says that the most likely test that students will pass is the science test, so GEDWorks suggest they start with that one. Participants have unlimited access to study materials and practice tests.
“We have different study materials to use, because we recognize that different people learn in different ways. And sometimes we have to switch study materials and find what works for that learner,” Martin says.
GEDWorks uses a variety of tools created by different publishers. One of these is GED Flash, an electronic flashcard with more than 6,000 questions in the four subjects, so participants can get a sense of how much they know.
“Everyone is expected to study three hours a week and be in touch with their advisor, so we can see how much time they were in it, and how they’re doing,” Martin says. Participants establish a one-on-one relationship with their advisor and communicate with them once a week by phone, email or text message. And as long as people remain in the program, they can continue to complete as many practice tests as they need.
They can also take the GED exam as many times as necessary to pass it. And they can take it at a GED test center or online with proctoring. If done online, a computer with a camera is required, however, so the test taker can be monitored.
Both the study materials and the test are in Spanish. And GEDWorks has bilingual advisors as well.
While the purpose of the advisors is to coach, guide and mentor, some learners encounter problems. Whether it’s a question on science or math or help with an essay, participants can set up a one-on-one session with a tutor, who will help them out. Martin says that GEDWorks did a study on how people performed on a test before and after tutoring, and they improved their performance with tutoring.
Tutors are helpful, but according to Martin, “The advisors are our secret sauce in the program. That’s our real advantage.” When asked, learners always mention that the advisor made the difference.
Cost to employers
Employers pay for GEDWorks. They’re charged a setup fee to build the online portal, as well as a fee per employee enrolled. The larger the corporation, the lower the price per employee. And the rate for nonprofit organizations is less than for-profit organizations.
If you are an employer and are interested in learning more about GEDWorks, you can request a demo. A business development representative will also walk you through the pricing spreadsheet, so you’ll know how much the program will cost your company.
Offering GEDWorks demonstrates that an employer is “consciously wanting to improve lives,” Martin says. “It helps them recruit and retain those employees. And it puts them on a path to better employability and a better quality of life.”