An increasing number of people in northeast Indiana have earned a high school diploma or the equivalent, but there are still 75,157 people without those all-important credentials, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released by Northeast Indiana Works.
According the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey Five-Year Estimates, the number of people in northeast Indiana 18-years-old and older without a high school degree or the equivalent (HSE or GED) declined from 79,241 during 2008-2012 to 75,157 during 2013-2017. Conversely, the number of people with those credentials rose from 476,079 to 494,806.
“High school diplomas or the equivalent are essential portals to additional learning that can ensure self- or family-sustaining careers,” said Edmond O’Neal, president of Northeast Indiana Works. “Without one or the other, a person’s ability to make a good living is significantly impeded.”
The focus on high school diplomas and equivalent credentials comes during National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, which runs through Sept. 28 and is designed to raise public awareness about resources available for people with low literacy skills.
Northeast Indiana Works oversees a consortium of five adult education providers in the region. Those providers offer basic skills instruction, HSE (formerly GED) exam preparation and in most cases HSE test administration. The five providers are: Fort Wayne Community Schools Continuing Education Program, Impact Institute in Kendallville, Learn More Center in Wabash, The Literacy Alliance in Fort Wayne and the Marion Regional Career Center. Combined, they serve all 11 counties in northeast Indiana.
A March 2017 analysis released by Northeast Indiana Works showed there is a direct correlation between educational attainment and career earnings. The analysis using median annual wages revealed that, over the course of a 40-year career, a person in northeast Indiana with just a high school degree or the equivalent will earn $532,480 more than a person with no high school degree.
The analysis also showed that the more education one receives, the more likely they are to be employed.