The City of Detroit and Detroit Public Community Schools District have partnered to create a program that will allow adult Detroit residents to complete their high school graduation requirements while getting paid.

Mayor Mike Duggan announced the partnership and the High School Completion program during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. Applications for students who wish to begin classes either online or in-person by July 13 are now available on the city’s website. The announcement comes as many of the city’s businesses begin to re-open after thousands lost their jobs during the outbreak of coronavirus earlier this year. 

During the press conference Duggan said this is especially important as unemployment benefits are expected to run out by the end of July. 

Detroit residents who were supposed to complete high school before 2016 are eligible to apply and if accepted will take classes to either obtain their GED or complete the missing classes. Participants of this pilot program will receive $10 an hour for up to 20 hours per week while working toward their degree.

The program is intended to be quick, with students earning their diploma or GED within four to six months. 

The students will be paid because working while in school can be difficult, Duggan said during the press conference. Those who qualify will also have access to a laptop, internet access, transportation assistance and child care referrals. 

The program will accept 50 applicants to begin their coursework on July 13 and 100 more applicants after Labor Day. The mayor said the city hopes to accept 400 applicants in 2021.

Program participants will take classes with education professionals. Program participants will either take the remaining courses that were required to complete their high school diploma at the time, or will prepare to take the GED test.

According to the city’s website, over 5,300 jobs are available in the city. However, most that pay $30,000 salary or more require a high school diploma at minimum, Duggan said during the press conference.

DPSCD has already supported adult education programs for the community including free, year-round GRE prep.  

DPSCD’s graduation rate for students who completed their education within four years was 75.84% in 2019. The district’s dropout rate was 11.71% that year. Cass Technical High School had the highest four-year graduation rate of DPSCD high schools at 98.6%. 

Olivia Lewis is a reporter for BridgeDetroit. She was formerly a reporter for the Battle Creek Enquirer and the Indianapolis Star. She has also worked in philanthropy for the Kresge Foundation, the Council...

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