Program combines GED certification with vocational training

(MGN Online)

Summit Academy OIC has received a $250,000 challenge grant from U.S. Bank to help fund its “1,000 GED Campaign,” a first-of-its-kind contextualized program that enables individuals to earn a

GED and then also become certified in a construction or healthcare specialty in only 30 weeks. U.S. Bank is the first corporation to fund the campaign, aimed at reaching 1,000 GEDs by 2020 and is challenging other corporations to join the effort.

Currently, more than 72,000 working-age adults in Hennepin County do not have a GED or high school diploma, hindering their ability to obtain a living-wage job.

“The Twin Cities metropolitan area is facing a silent epidemic, with entire communities left under educated and out of the economic mainstream,” said Louis J. King, president and CEO of Summit Academy OIC. “Not only are we breaking down the barriers to obtaining a GED, but we also are providing a career pathway to long-term sustainability and self-sufficiency.”

Summit Academy OIC is a nonprofit vocational school in North Minneapolis serving individuals from low-income areas. According to the Minnesota state demographer, workforce growth will slow to zero percent by 2020, creating a shortage of appropriately skilled workers for in-demand fields, including construction and health care.

The workforce supply shortage presents an unprecedented opportunity for people to gain access to the economic mainstream. Even as St. Paul and Minneapolis become more diverse, neighborhoods of racially concentrated poverty have persisted, and poverty rates remain much higher for people of color than for White people.

Faced with a labor shortage and enduring patterns of racial inequality and poverty, Summit Academy’s programs connect people to training for in-demand jobs at no cost to the students and with no further debt, and while graduating in a mere 20-30 weeks.


— Information provided by Summit Academy. Readers interested in the GED program should call Hope Patterson at 612-377-0150 or email her at