The Union Recorder

April 19, 2013

GED program coming for city and CSH workers

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — This week’s Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority (CSHLRA) meeting opened with positive news for City of Milledgeville and Central State employees. Work release programs for GED training through the Communities In Schools Milledgeville-Baldwin County and Central Georgia Technical College umbrella could help hundreds by increasing adult workforce literacy.

Georgia Military College President Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Peter J. Boylan responded quickly to an inquiry by City Public Works Director Frank Baugh. A number of Baugh’s employees, while great workers, lacked high school or equivalent GED diplomas.

Several city employees began adult education this week. City Manager Barry Jarrett supports the GED services at CGTC for other departments as well, according to Baugh.

While exploring the city’s adult literacy, Boylan found out the need for the soon to be jobless caregivers at CSH. Providing displaced workers educational opportunities makes the area more attractive.

“The problem is that many of the people who are great caregivers do not possess a high school diploma or GED. While they are excellent caregivers, nonetheless if you are a private developer setting up group homes, you want to have people you can be assured are literate. Bottom line, we are losing an opportunity here if these current caregivers are not provided with the opportunity to obtain a GED,” Boylan said Wednesday.

CGTC President Dr. Ivan Allen agreed to fund a similar work release program for Central State Hospital. Of 158 non-high school grads surveyed, 47 said they would participate.

“I think it will grow once they realize this is an opportunity,” CSHLRA Executive Director Mike Couch said.

Hank Griffeth, vice president of satellite operations at CGTC, said the institution is committed to offering the adult literacy services.

“We are excited about it. The commitment has been made,” Griffeth said. “It will be done here on site.”

CGTC will administer the curriculum and arrange instructors for GED training. Participants won’t have to travel helping maintain privacy.

Griffeth said six hours per week is the stock minimum, but the time spent working toward the GED certification depends on where individuals start. Learning assessments create pods of workers also giving them hours to finish date ratios. 

Participation isn’t mandatory though Boylan estimated at least 100 employees could enroll in this program.

“We are going to start with a group of employees showing interest,” Griffeth said. “Classes will be developed during their work day in a manner that appears like simply staff development for them.”

Those who aren’t far away from passing the GED go into prep as well as an accelerated opportunities program. The accelerated portion lets individuals earn college credit while obtaining the diploma.

“We think that will be an integral part of marketing this area to new employers coming in,” Griffeth said.

This adult literacy talk comes at the perfect time. Couch announced Wednesday Sunrise Medical Group from Miami, Fla. set a May 8 meeting with the CSHLRA concerning the Craig Center.

Sunrise operates group homes in Rome and Valdosta. They understand the patient load and want to come to Milledgeville, according to Couch.

“They are in the business of doing what the Craig Center does. Their CEO is very interested in seeing if there is a privatization opportunity here in Milledgeville where he could take some of the patient load and hire some of the employees out of Craig,” Couch said. 

One requirement is a high school diploma or GED, which lines up perfectly with the discussed work release educational options.

Click here to subscribe to The Union-Recorder print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Union-Recorder e-edition and view this full article.