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It's a great place to earn a GED

Since moving its operation over to Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Detroit Lakes, the success stories through the Adult Basic Education Program (ABE) have reportedly gone up.

According to Lead Instructor Kathy Simison, the number of GED graduates going on to higher education continues to rise locally since moving its operation from the Lincoln Ed Center to the college nearly a year and a half ago.

"It's because this is a perfect venue for them," Simison said. "A lot of students can be anxious walking into a college setting, but here they become accustomed to being a part of the program, so they start making friends, and they're familiar with the environment."

Simison says not only do the students get more comfortable with being in the college setting, but the Adult Basic Education instructors are now better able to focus more on providing a seamless transition.

"The GED is not the end, really, it's the beginning, and now more than ever our door leaving the GED program leads into college."

In fact, the ABE now has an instructor who specifically helps GED students transition into college by assisting them with financial aid, the application process, entrance exams, and prep classes.

Out of the 41 GED graduates this year from the Detroit Lakes area, Simison says nearly half are planning to attend college in the fall, with the bulk of them going to the college in DL.

Although they don't have firm numbers to compare that statistic to quite yet, Simison says it's up significantly.

Ten volunteers from around the region help ensure the success of GED seekers with free tutoring services, which often targets English as a second language and math.

The area's ABE program doesn't keep its success stories local either, but has grown to a regional entity.

The program now has instructors providing services in Ada-Borup, Norman County East, Lake Park-Audubon, Ulen-Hitterdal, and Rothsay two hours a week.

They don't stop there.

Simison says there are also some inspiring stories coming out of the Becker County Jail, where an ABE instructor has been working.

"Education really does work for keeping the inmates from re-offending because it gives them self esteem," Simison said, "Once they get their GED, what they're able to do improves so much that they move onto things they never thought they could do."

And with instruction twice a week and testing once a month, what some inmates are doing is joining the rest of the GED grads and entering college after their release.

Out of the five Becker County inmates who received their GEDs this year, two are enrolling at M State.

"We actually think that should be a requirement in the sentencing, that if they don't have their GED, they work on it, so when they do get out they are qualified to work," said Simison.

And workers are something the country will need more of in the near future.

"With the baby-boomers retiring, it's going to be a very tough call to find people to fill some of these positions that will require educated workers," said Simison.

Simison says it's rewarding to see how their program is able to take a person who, for some reason, has never finished high school and help build them up to eventually work in a skilled or professional job locally.

"We have very high expectations for them," she says.

To find out more about the GED program or other Adult Basic Education classes offered, call 844-5760 or log onto