Home > Adult Education, Adult School, job training, Workforce > On Unemployment with No High School Diploma? You May be Forced to Get a GED

On Unemployment with No High School Diploma? You May be Forced to Get a GED

On February 2, 2012 The House-Senate discussions on approving an extension of unemployment benefits beyond March 1, 2012 has a proposal on the table that would require people who do not have a high school diploma to take G.E.D. classes as a condition of receiving more unemployment income.  They do not agree on the approach, but it is on the table for consideration.  See C-SPANS’s coverage of the discussion at the link below.  Forward the video to 34:00 min to hear the discussion on this issue; listen for about 30 minutes.

CLICK HERE TO SEE C-SPAN’S VIDEO OF THE COMMITTEE MEETING – (Make sure you’re watching the 2nd of 3 meetings)

What are my thoughts on this matter?

I believe there should be some sort of condition for everyone receiving ‘extended’ UI benefits, however there must be additional considerations included. As one who has 10+ years of experience in adult education, I know many adult students who are low literacy, low skill and therefore do not have enough literacy to comprehend the GED textbooks, which start at about 5th grade reading level. These students require a fair amount of additional support services and time before they can even tackle the GED curriculum. GED is not necessarily purposed to BUILD literacy skills as much as it is to show proof that you have them.

Secondly, if a person is out of work because the work they’ve done most of their life is now obsolete, that person needs job re-training along with GED test preparation, and will need to accomplish both in the limited amount of time provided in the UI extension. This is a unrealistic expectation.

Thirdly, many adult students – who are retirement age – and have qualified for extended UI benefits along with job retraining benefits under other training benefit plans often attend school/training just as a means to delay receiving their social security for 2 years, yet having no intention to return to the workforce. These folks are a challenge in the classroom because they are there for the wrong reasons and they do not take the training seriously.

On the flip side, I personally know of many people who are “comfortable” only depending on their unemployment income and who have not made any real effort to find employment. They did, however, start looking for work when they were unsure if the December extension would pass.

Something needs to be done to get folks moving and engaged back into the workforce but requiring GED for UI isn’t it.

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