Online diplomas

The Washington County Public Library will be offering accredited, private high school diplomas and career certificates as part of a new program.

The Career Online High School (COHS) program is brought to residents in several communities by the State of Florida and is administered by FL-based Smart Horizons Career Online Education through a partnership with Gale, a library resource provider and a Cengage company.

Washington County Public Library is one of the 28 public library systems across the state to offer COHS. Launched in 2015 with 11 FL library systems, the COHS program has this year expanded to 17 new systems including Washington County.

Currently, more than 1.2 million working residents of Florida aged 25 to 44 years of age, or 12.1% of the state’s working-age population, lack high school diplomas.

The State of Florida has expanded its partnership with Gale, a Cengage company, to offer accredited online private high school diplomas and career certificates to 28 public library systems across Florida. The Career Online High School (COHS) program is brought to residents by the State of Florida and is administered by Smart Horizons Career Online Education through a partnership with Gale. First launched in 2015 as a pilot program with 11 public library systems, 17 additional library systems will now make COHS available. According to the United States Census Bureau, more than 1.2 million working residents of Florida aged 25 to 44 years of age, or 12.1% of the state’s working-age population, lack high school diplomas.

“Broward County Library is proud to be a partner of Career Online High School (COHS), a program that gives adult students a second chance to obtain their private high school diploma and achieve their career goals,” said Vonda Bryant, Learning Services Coordinator at Broward County Library, one of the first Florida libraries to offer the program in 2015. “So far, eight Broward County Library customers have graduated from COHS, in addition to 10 students who have completed 75% or more of the COHS curriculum. The program empowers adults to change their circumstances and increases their potential for success.”

“We’re excited to see Florida residents find success with Career Online High School and we’re thrilled that the State has expanded their investment in this proven program,” said Paul Gazzolo, senior vice president and general manager at Gale. “Career Online High School not only enables public libraries to clearly demonstrate their impact on local economic and workforce development, it also opens doors to new and better opportunities for residents.”

The participating library systems throughout the state will award scholarships for Career Online High School to qualified learners looking to earn private high school diplomas and advance their careers. Each student enrolled in Career Online High School is paired with an academic coach who offers ongoing guidance and encouragement, evaluates performance, and connects the learner with the resources needed to demonstrate mastery of the course material. Classes are supported by state board certified instructors, and students have 24/7 access to the online learning platform. Coursework begins in one of eight high-growth, high-demand career fields (across a wide spectrum, from child care and education to certified transportation) before progressing to the core academic subjects. Many students are able to graduate in as few as six months by transferring in previously earned high school credits.

“As a Florida-based private school district, expanding the career and educational opportunities for Florida residents is a top-priority for us,” said Dr. Howard Liebman, Founder and Superintendent of Schools for Pensacola-headquartered Smart Horizons Career Online Education. “Providing access to high school diplomas and concurrent entry-level workforce certificates is the first step for residents in helping them matriculate into industry-trained or postsecondary credentialed programs. Our graduates can also hit the ground running with tangible career skills that are immediately applicable to their lives and jobs.”

Interested Florida residents can visit http://www.careeronlinehs.gale.com/fl/ to learn more about the program, and see the complete list of libraries offering it.