By Bob Skolnik
If you're an adult in Brookfield who never graduated from high school, you now have a chance to earn a high school diploma through an online program being offered through the Brookfield Public Library.
The library is joining 11 other Chicago area libraries in offering scholarships to the Career Online High School, a fully accredited national online high school completion program.
There is no cost to the student, since scholarships to the Career Online High School are being covered in part by a $5,200 grant from the Friends of the Brookfield Public Library.
The Career Online High School offers students a chance to earn a high school diploma from home through online learning. The program is geared toward preparing students for the job market and offers a chance to earn a career certificate in one of eight career specialties, including child care and education, food and hospitality, retail customer service, certified protection officer, office management, homeland security, commercial driving, and general career preparation.
"Earning a high school diploma is a life-changing achievement," said Frank Murray, head of reference and electronic services at the Brookfield Public Library. "Currently more than 900 Brookfield adults lack a high school degree or equivalent. By offering Career Online High School, we're empowering residents to seek new opportunities and transform their lives."
The Career Online High School was created by Gage, a library resource provider and part of the private company Cengage Learning.
"No one outside of a public library can participate in this program," Murray said. "Scholarships are awarded from public libraries to individuals."
The Career Online High School is specifically designed to re-engage adults into the educational system and prepare them for jobs or further education. Students will be paired with an academic coach, who will provide the student with guidance, a career path and provide ongoing evaluation and support.
Students can graduate in as little as five months and have 18 months to complete the program. Students will complete a career portfolio, which includes resumes and cover letters.
The library is offering nine spots in the Career Online High School, and it's open to any Brookfield resident over the age of 21 who has a library card. Those interested in enrolling should call the reference desk at the library at 708-485-6917, ext. 130 or email the reference desk at email@example.com.
Applicants must pass an initial assessment test and a brief prerequisite course before they can enroll. If they pass those two steps, the final step in the application process is an interview with a library staff member.
Applicants must possess basic computer skills, but ownership of a computer is not required. Anyone chosen to participate in the program who does not have a computer may complete course work using the library's computers or on a laptop computer that can be checked out from the library.
"The library is very excited to offer an option for individuals to obtain an accredited high school diploma, receive career certification in one of eight career paths, and get ready for the job search by creating a resume and cover letter," Murray said.