Community college, Graduation Alliance create diploma program

By Laura Devaney
December 10th, 2015

Columbus State Community College wins $250,000 grant to create a competency-based high school diploma program including industry certifications

adult-diplomaColumbus State Community College has received a $250,000 planning grant from the Ohio Department of Education to help adults living in Franklin County earn a high school diploma and receive free job training for in-demand careers.

The college has partnered with Graduation Alliance, the nation’s leading expert in adult dropout recovery programs, to develop the program.

Columbus State was one of three Ohio community colleges to receive Adult Diploma Planning Grants from the state for the 2016 fiscal year. The grants support the development of programs that enable adults to earn a high school diploma based on competency rather than credit hours, while earning an industry certification at the same time. The programs must include career advising and outreach as well as core instruction.

“We’re honored to have received an Adult Diploma Planning Grant from the state, and we’re excited about the possibilities this will create for adults living in Franklin County,” said Dr. David Harrison, president of the college. “The opportunity to earn a high school diploma and develop key industry skills and credentials will put many Central Ohioans on the path to a high-demand career with great earning potential. Columbus State is at the center of education and workforce training programs for adults in Central Ohio, and this program represents one more way we can meet their diverse needs.”

Columbus State has partnered with Graduation Alliance to develop the program because of the company’s proven record of working with at-risk individuals to supply both academic and workforce readiness skills.

For instance, Graduation Alliance’s Workforce Diploma program is a fully portable, online solution that targets working-age adults who left high school before graduating. It includes access to more than 200 online courses; 24-7 academic support from highly qualified teachers, personal academic coaches, and tutors; and career transition counselors who stay with students throughout their education, training, and job placement. Participants also have access to Graduation Alliance’s college and career planning tool which provides real-time data analytics to help users explore available jobs and high-demand careers in their region.

“With its Adult Diploma Planning Grants, Ohio has shown bold leadership in taking an innovative approach to tackling workforce development needs, and we’re excited to partner with Columbus State Community College in developing a solution to these challenges,” said Rebekah Richards, chief academic officer and co-founder of Graduation Alliance. “It takes a variety of approaches to help at-risk adults finish high school and learn important industry skills, and we look forward to bringing best practices from around the country to bear in Franklin County.”

The planning process will take place between now and the end of June, with an anticipated start date for the program of July 1, 2016. To learn more about Graduation Alliance, visit For more information about Columbus State Community College, go to

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Devaney

Laura Devaney is the Director of News for eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura

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