Local residents seeking to earn their General Equivalency high school diploma at night now have a means of doing that right here in Gloucester.
Nonprofit Action Inc. opened three adult education classes earlier this month, all geared at helping residents earn their GED.
The agency opened the classes through a Department of Elementary and Secondary education grant it sought with North Shore Community College, drawing $44,800 in grant funds, with an agency match to launch the Adult Community Learning Center at the Action offices on Pleasant Street.
Action’s Director of Job Training and Education Shari Cornett said the classes will help low-income residents earn education they need to find better work. Most employers, she said, require a General Education Diploma, or GED. With unemployment up and a gap between the skills residents have and employers need growing, Cornett said educational programs like this are needed on Cape Ann.
“(There’s a) growing gap between what employers need and what employees know,” Cornett said. “People are finding themselves needing to go back to school, and this is a step in that direction.”
Many job training programs, she said, require a GED or at least further education for entry. She said Action’s classes could be a stepping stone into those kind of programs, like the Home Health Aide training it runs. At the end of the GED courses, Cornett said Action staff will work with students to connect them with the North Shore Career Center.
Action started three classes at the center on Oct. 2. The agency is running an Adult Basic Education class, Pre-GED class and a GED class. The courses go through June 30. The grant funds the two GED courses, and Action funds the basic education course.
According to an Action release, North Shore Community College has tried to start an adult basic education course in Gloucester for a few years.