Distance Learning

Detroit Young People Get Chance To Earn Diploma Online

Detroit residents who may have dropped out of high school will now have the chance to earn either a high school diploma or an entry-level workforce certificate online.

In an announcement June 10 at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in Denver, Cengage Learning said that, as part of the Detroit Collective Impact Initiative, it will provide the online education and training programs centered around its Career Online High School (COHS). The goal is to graduate 1,350 youths and adults over the age of 16 during the next two years.

"More than 70,000 adults in Detroit, a staggering 15 percent of the city's total population over the age of 21, do not have a high school diploma," said Ron Stefanski, executive director of strategic alliances at Cengage Learning and a Detroit resident. "This is a disheartening statistic and we must work together within our community to make a difference."

Cengage's COHS, an accredited online program created in 2012 and aimed at disengaged youth and adults who never earned their diploma, typically costs $1,300 and takes the average student six to eight months to complete.

In this case, Cengage is partnering with Matrix Human Services, Michigan Virtual University, McDonald's and Kinexus, all of whom have committed to contribute to the general educational goal of the initiative. McDonald's, for instance, will make COHS available with free tuition to all eligible employees in their franchised and corporate restaurants in the Detroit area, which could include more than 1,200 people.

"As a champion for online learning, we are so proud to be a part of the Detroit Collective Impact Initiative," said Michigan Virtual University CEO Jamey Fitzpatrick. "By providing access to an accredited high school diploma and career certificate, we are helping people to excel, opening doors to employment opportunities that once were not attainable."

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.