Partnership to help those earn high school diploma

An established partnership between the Phoenix Rescue Mission and Grad Solutions puts those in need on a path to reaching their goals by earning their high school diploma.

“The Phoenix Rescue Mission has been in business over 60 years really helping the homeless, the individuals with life-controlling problems, addiction. They’ve just met each individual right where they are,” Rhonda Webb, Phoenix Rescue Mission vocational development manager, said.

In addition to a number of other services, Phoenix Rescue Mission helps its in-need clients gain an education that will help improve their lives.

In 2014, changes were made to the General Education Development (GED) test that made it difficult for people to pass.

“It became very, very challenging and when you work with individuals in recovery with trauma and memorization losses, there are just so many diverse challenges- it’s hard enough as it is. So, when they made those changes to the GED, our clients were struggling to complete that, and they tried very, very hard,” Webb explained.

Phoenix Rescue Mission and Grad Solutions partnered to help those in need earn their high school diploma and open doors to their future goals.

“[Phoenix Rescue Mission] was primarily using a GED program but what we were identifying is a lot of their clients were not that credit deficient, it was a lot easier for them to get an accredited high school diploma which will help them even more in life than the GED,” said Rich Becker, Grad Solutions business development director.  

Grad Solutions works to help those of various ages and backgrounds earn their high school diploma. Smart Schools, a Grad Solutions program, is designed to help people age 22 and over earn their diploma.

“We met with [Grad Solutions] and they just began offering us at no charge to get started with them and we just started having instant success and our numbers were growing very quickly,” Webb said.

Becker explained that Grad Solutions wanted to partner with Phoenix Rescue Mission to help them improve the lives of their clients.

“Individuals who complete their high school diploma- I’ve seen it with our clients- it just immediately raises their level of self, how they see themselves and their self-confidence. So, they’re going out into the community when they complete our programs and they are all either going to school or they’re securing sustainable employment and then they’re securing housing,” Webb said.

“Everybody in this community is important. And, it’s really, really imperative to help those that are down, that want to make a difference and really want to build their lives back up,” Becker said.

Helping students earn their high school diploma opens doors to a variety of options, including postsecondary education attainment.

“For those individuals that have gone on, it’s really been amazing, and they would not have been able to do that had they not received their high school diploma,” Webb said.

Since partnering with Grad Solutions, about five to eight of the students Phoenix Rescue Mission works with have gone on to finish postsecondary education, Webb explained.

“That’s a good success rate when you’re working with our population because many of them have challenges with trauma and memorization,” she said.

Sierra Ciaramella

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