FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- It might not look like it on the calendar, but the end of the year is coming up quickly especially if you do not have your GED.
60,000 people ages 18 to 64 in northeast Indiana do not have a high school diploma or equivalency.
And the 2,000 of them who've done some work toward taking the exam stand to lose all their credits if they don't finish by the end of the year.
24-year old Allen Hackworth is taking classes, because he knows at the first of the year the GED will disappear, and any coursework he'd completed would be lost.
"At first I was a little nervous, but I kinda just went into there with a good attitude and knew I needed to accomplish this to move on with things in my life that, you know, I would rather work for more than $8 an hour, you know?" Hackworth says.
At the first of the year, Indiana is changing to a more rigorous national exam called the Test Assessing Secondary Completion. Allen says getting his GED now will set him up for a successful future.
"I was sneaking my way into jobs and never really felt right about it. So then I ended up coming back here to Indiana and I did the same thing, where I had $8 an hour jobs, and I just couldn't support myself let alone someday a family,” Hackworth says.
That's the problem facing tens of thousands of adults in northeast Indiana, who do not have a high school equivalency.
That can leave them out of the loop for jobs and also be a deterrent for employers looking to locate here.
"The GED increasingly is becoming a really critical portal to solid employment as well as other post-secondary educational opportunities," says Rick Farrant from the Regional Workforce Investment Board.
Allen thinks it can be done.
"Anybody that thinks they can't achieve something, I think they should just give themselves a shot. Because if you're not trying, you're not going to succeed in anything. You have to put your foot in the door and actually try to get something done rather than just talk about it,” Hackworth says.
You can call the GED hotline at (260) 469-4411. People there can answer all your questions. If you are really dedicated, it's not too late to begin the process now and finish by the end of the year.
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