PHOENIX — With Governor Doug Ducey on hand, Goodwill broke ground Tuesday on its first EXCEL education center in Arizona.
EXCEL is a tuition-free academy designed to help adult learners get their high school diplomas.
Across the state, more than 700,000 people did not graduate from high school or have a GED. People without a high school diploma on average earn $17,000 less a year than someone who has a high school diploma.
"This is the first to really meet the needs. We need 20 to 30 of these schools in order to cover the state to make sure we're reaching the maximum number of people we can," said Goodwill Arizona President and CEO Tim O'Neal.
The state provided $12 million in COVID relief money last year to help launch the EXCEL center.
"Arizonans who are past the eligible age to attend high school and never got a diploma should have all the same opportunities to pursue the career of their choosing,” Governor Ducey said.
EXCEL centers have been successful in five other states in connecting graduates with jobs – 70% of the graduates of these centers have found employment and 97% of students have graduated with workforce credentials, certifications, or college credits.
The EXCEL center will open in August.
Enrollment has not begun yet, but you can fill out a "student interest" form online to get in contact with someone from the center.
Goodwill is also looking to hire teachers and team members for the center.