LOUISVILLE, KY. – Goodwill Industries of Kentucky will celebrate the opening of The Excel Center®, its tuition-free high school for adults, with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, September 28 at 1 p.m. in front of the school, located at 6203 Preston Highway, Louisville, KY 40219.

The ribbon cutting will take place during the nonprofit’s day-long South Louisville Opportunity Expo event. Elected officials, community leaders and media have all been invited to speak and partake in the celebration.

Operated by Goodwill, The Excel Center® will hold its first day of classes on Tuesday, October 4. Enrollment is open for interested individuals and potential teachers at www.GoodwillKYExcelCenter.org.

“As the first of its kind,” said Dr. Marsha Berry, director of The Excel Center®, “The Excel Center® will help Kentuckians 18 years old or older who have dropped out of high school earn their diplomas and other industry-recognized certifications in a unique environment that caters to the life demands they now face as adults.”

The Excel Center® will accommodate up to 350 students at any given time and provide flexible eight-week class schedules, free on-site childcare, transportation assistance, industry-recognized certification options and career counselors who will help graduates transition into college or meaningful careers.

Goodwill established plans for The Excel Center® to help generate more work-ready citizens and reduce poverty in Kentucky, where there are more than 300,000 working-age adults who have not completed high school or earned an equivalent certification. In a five-mile radius of the new school, more than 19,000 individuals are without a diploma. The average annual income of an individual in Kentucky without a diploma is about $7,000 less than that of a high school graduate.

The Center will increase the number of adults who pursue post-secondary degrees and reduce recidivism by improving the employability of Kentucky’s adult learners. To help improve education attainment levels in the commonwealth, Governor Andy Beshear and state legislators committed $1 million to help start the adult high school.

The concept of the Excel Center® was initiated by Goodwill Education Initiatives, Inc., a not-for-profit organization formed by Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana. Since the first Excel Center began operating in Indianapolis in 2010, 31 schools now operate in six states and Washington DC.

Collectively, they have graduated more than 8,000 students, provided more than 6,700 industry-recognized certifications, and 99% of all graduates earned college credits or industry-recognized certifications. Graduates see an estimated 280% increase in average wages one year after graduation.

Center graduates are expected to experience many of the same benefits other high school graduates experience throughout the nation:

  • Excel Center graduates are less likely to be incarcerated than the average high school dropout nationally
  • Released inmates who graduate from an Excel Center are 43% less like to be re-incarcerated
  • African American Excel Center graduates are 71% less likely to be incarcerated than the average African American male high school dropout nationally
  • 38% of all graduates are enrolled in post-secondary education and 76% have a two-year persistency rate
  • 70% of all graduates are employed and have a 50% wage increase in six months after graduation

Goodwill is expected to operate The Excel Center® as a pilot educational program. If the model proves successful, the statewide nonprofit organization plans to pursue resources to open additional schools throughout Kentucky.

About Goodwill Industries of Kentucky

Goodwill Industries of Kentucky is a 99-year-old nonprofit organization that operates in 103 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. The organization is committed to using resources from its 67 retail stores to help build pathways out of poverty for individuals who need a hand up in life. In 2021, Goodwill helped place 2,636 Kentuckians into jobs with 871 of its employer partners and inside its own retail stores. Goodwill uses approximately 90 cents from every dollar generated in its retail stores to operate programs and services that help Kentucky’s hardest-to-serve job seekers build the life they desire.