About two-thirds of high school dropouts continue their education and obtain a high school credential within eight years of their scheduled graduation date. The vast majority obtain a General Educational Development (GED) certificate rather than a high school diploma. Unfortunately, labor market outcomes for GED holders are much worse than for high school graduates, and few of those who pass the GED obtain even one year of postsecondary education or training.
When dropouts do continue their education, it is generally through adult education or GED preparation programs that operate in schools, community-based organizations, or community colleges. However, since few of these programs (even those that operate on community college campuses) are well linked to postsecondary programs, the GED often marks the end of these students’ education, with recipients facing long odds of success in a labor market that offers few good opportunities to young people with no postsecondary education or training.
In order to strengthen the linkage between the GED and success in the labor market and postsecondary education, MDRC is working with the Division of Adult and Continuing Education in the Pre-College Academic Programming Department at the City University of New York (CUNY) LaGuardia Community College on a small-scale, random assignment evaluation of its GED Bridge to Business and Health Careers program.