ROCKFORD — Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a new Illinois law that will let adults earn high school diplomas instead of general-education certificates.
Rauner signed the amendment to the Illinois School Code on Friday at Goodwill of Northern Illinois in Rockford. It will allow those over age 21 who didn’t finish high school to receive a high school diploma through certified programs. Rauner’s office says diplomas are more advantageous than GED certificates because they give adults “better skills for postsecondary education and the workplace.”
“With the signing of this new law, adult students of all ages will have the opportunity to obtain a high school degree and climb the ladder of success,” Republican State Rep. Joe Sosnowski said. “This law paves the way for the creation of excel centers which will open doors to personal growth and career advancement for adult learners through the success of the program established by our friends at Goodwill of Northern Illinois. Students will be able to not only receive their high school diploma, but also the potential obtain a Career and Technical Education certificate.”
State Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford, echoed Sosnowski’s sentiments.
“A high school diploma is nearly essential in today’s world, but not everyone is able to complete high school in the same amount of time,” Stadelman said. “These programs will give people a second chance and help them obtain job skills. Everyone benefits in the end, because a trained workforce is good for economic development in our communities.”
Rauner’s office says about 1 million Illinois residents don’t have a high school diploma or general-education certificate. The new law also will allow for the creation of adult diploma programs run by community colleges or eligible nonprofit groups, such as Goodwill. R.
–AP & Staff reports