By Tara Kyle
MANHATTAN — City Council Speaker Christine Quinn launched a new campaign Tuesday to help job seekers without high school diplomas prepare for the GED.
"Bridge To Tomorrow," a pilot program created by the Department of Education and the Department of Small Business Services, seeks to connect New Yorkers who walk into the Upper Manhattan Workforce1 Career Center to GED testing and preparation courses.
"Without at least a high school diploma or GED, the chances of getting a good job are slim to none," Quinn said while addressing a crowd at the career center's 215 W. 125th Street location. "The GED is the first step toward helping [job seekers] realize better lives."
Participants in the "Bridge to Tomorrow" will go through a three step-process, beginning with an overview of the GED exam.
Next, staffers at the Workforce1 Center will administer the GED's official practice test, in an environment that mimics GED test conditions.
Finally, the Workforce1 Center will provide job-seekers with an analysis of their results. Depending on that feedback, test-takers will be referred to the next official GED exam or, if they need more help, an additional six-week test prep class. Test-takers with particularly low scores will be enrolled in a one-on-one consultation program.
About 1.6 million adult New Yorkers do not have high school diplomas, according to the City Council. Among the 160,00 people who came into Workforce1 Centers in 2009, 27,000 lacked high school diplomas or GEDs.
"With a diploma in hand, these graduates find a dramatic increase in the number of companies interested in hiring them," Jacqueline Cook, a consultant and adult literacy expert, said at the press conference. "The positive impact on the individual's and the city's economy couldn't be more direct."