The United Way of Citrus County has set a goal of helping 100 people get their GED certificates by June 30, 2017.
“We figured by setting a big goal, we might really showcase to people that … these supportive services are available for them if this is the goal in their lives,” said Amy Meek, the chief executive officer of United Way in Citrus County.
Over the last three years, United Way of Citrus County has helped county residents get their GEDs through its Prosperity Center program, and wants to encourage more people to go back to school.
Interested county residents must register at Withlacoochee Technical College, the only location in Citrus County where people can get their GED diplomas.
The services are available to residents through the Prosperity Center program, which helps members pay for the expenses — from gas cards to assistance with testing fees — they may incur while seeking their GED certificates. Request for assistance is considered on a case-by-case basis and depends on financial needs, said Meek. Assistance money is raised through grants and donations.
The United Way’s mission is to improve communities all over the world, especially in the areas of education, financial stability and health, by mobilizing the caring power of local communities to advance the common good, according to the non-profit organization’s website.
Improving education is an especially important goal for the United Way of Citrus County, Meek said.
The GED has four sections that students must pass: social studies, reading and language, science and math.
To sign up for the GED tests, Citrus County residents must sign up at Withlacoochee Technical College, where they can also request an application for the United Way’s Prosperity program.
The GED comes with a $30 application fee and a $30 registration fee. And students must pass the tests for all four components, which costs all together $128, said Jeff Williams, the assistant director of adult education at WTC.
In 2015, 15 to 20 people received their GED with the help of Citrus County, said Meek. Approximately 281 people received their GED in Citrus County in 2015, said Williams.
The first week that class registration was open at WTC, it received around five to 10 calls from people interested in receiving their GED, said Williams.
In today’s economy, having a GED is a requirement. There is no job out that offers upward mobility without the minimum education requirement, which is the GED, said Meek.
It’s important to have your GED because it will allow you to go on to college and receive a higher level of education, said Martina Malphurs, 18, who received her GED last September after her high school closed.
“It can help you get farther in life,” said Malphurs.