LOUISVILLE, KY. – The Excel Center®, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky’s tuition-free high school for adults, will hold its inaugural graduation ceremony on Thursday, June 29 at Muhammad Ali Center’s View Pointe Hall from 6-8 p.m. The first of its kind in Kentucky, The Excel Center® will honor more than 30 individuals who have completed the requirements necessary through the school to graduate with a state-accredited high school diploma.
Goodwill President and CEO Amy Luttrell, Excel Center Superintendent DeVone Holt, Excel Center Director Dr. Marsha Berry and Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet Secretary Jamie Link will share words of encouragement during the ceremony. Jefferson County Public School District 6 Board Member and Reverend Corrie Schull will offer a keynote speech.
“The Excel Center® is the first of its kind in Kentucky, and this group of students is the first graduating class,” said Dr. Berry, director of The Excel Center®. “This is a monumental moment. Graduates have demonstrated tenacity in reaching their goal of earning a high school diploma and certificates to propel their careers. We all congratulate and recognize their accomplishments.”
In Kentucky, there are more than 300,000 working-age adults 18 years old or older who have not completed high school or earned an equivalent certification. Their median annual earnings are $18,137 compared to the $25,191 per year that adults with a high school diploma earn.
The Excel Center® – located at 6203 Preston Highway in Louisville – is open to these individuals free of charge. It meets students where they are in life and offers a unique environment that caters to the life demands they now face as adults. To help its adult students succeed in earning their diplomas, The Excel Center® features:
- Flexible eight-week class schedules
- Free on-site childcare by way of YMCA of Greater Louisville
- Transportation assistance
- Industry-recognized certification options
- Life coaches who help graduates transition into college or meaningful careers
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, 37 schools now operate in seven states and Washington DC. Collectively, they have graduated more than 11,000 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.
Kentucky students who graduate are expected to experience many of the same benefits other graduates experience throughout the nation. They include:
- Graduates are less likely to be incarcerated than the average high school dropout nationally
- Released inmates who graduate are 43% less like to be reincarcerated
- African American 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
To learn more about The Excel Center® or to enroll in the school, visit GoodwillKYExcelCenter.org.
About Goodwill Industries of Kentucky
Goodwill Industries of Kentucky is a 100-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 2022, Goodwill helped place 2,368 Kentuckians into jobs with 877 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.