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Jun 13, 2019 |
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Parents and guardians are the first, and often remain the primary, influencer when it comes to how children feel about education and what personal and professional goals they set at an early age.

For many parents, returning to school is a chance for them to set the example and show the value of education. This is especially important for the adult learners that did not complete high school.

Over 40 million U.S. adults have low literacy, including 20% of adults with a high school diploma. Of these 40 million adults, 64% of adults with low literacy are employed. They are employed in primarily low wage jobs and lack the preparation needed to succeed in postsecondary education.

Literacy and numeracy have a direct connection to upward mobility; so does earning a high school diploma or GED® credential. One in five working adults does not have a high school credential. The impact this can have on a household, especially the lack of potential income growth, can be significant for that family and the larger community.

Full-time workers with a GED diploma go on to make an average of $9,000 more a year than those without a high school diploma. The potential for salary growth increases as workers with a high school diploma or GED credential enter postsecondary education—making them eligible for a number of well-paying middle skill jobs.

Parents play a huge role in children’s literacy development and the attainment of a GED credential has additional benefits outside of income growth. The skills adult learners obtain in the classroom are actively used in the household and passed down to their children.

At GED Testing Service we have worked to identify how we can support adult learners and get them back in the classroom and on their way to earning a GED diploma. In our student research we found that many students listed their families as the primary reason for going back to school. Starting adult education classes is often the first step of many to improve their reading, writing and math abilities while developing the soft skills and confidence they need to succeed in the workforce.

Each year at the GED Testing Service Conference we recognize GED graduates from across the country that displayed exceptional dedication and scholarship during the preparation and testing process.

Marquita, a 2018 GED Graduate of Year awardee, shared how being an example for her children was a driving force behind earning her GED credential. As a single parent of four children and primary caretaker for an ailing parent, Marquita enrolled in adult education classes with the goal of getting her GED diploma and starting a Medical Office Specialist program.

“The biggest motivation had to be my kids,” said Marquita. “I wanted something better for them. Having dead-end jobs was just not enough, I need to (be) established and have that financial support and I wasn’t going to do it without my education.”

Marquita’s story is one shared by many GED students. They are parents motivated by their young children to pursue additional education and better job opportunities—all while learning the foundational skills they need to support their young learners. 


Danielle P. Wilson is the Communications Manager for GED Testing Service. She coordinates digital communications strategies and media outreach to support the GED test program. GED Testing Service is the sole provider of the official GED® test. The GED test has opened doors to better jobs and college programs for more than 20 million graduates since 1942. The GED test is accepted by virtually all U.S. colleges and employers.


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NCFL Partners

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Toyota Family Learning Program

Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $50 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.

Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.

Read more about Toyota's commitment to communities

William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

NCFL received its very first donation in 1989 from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to promote and implement family literacy programming, first in Kentucky and North Carolina and later nationwide. The Kenan Family Literacy Model in part laid the groundwork for 30 years of subsequent family literacy and family learning programming developed by NCFL.

Kenan has continued to support NCFL’s place-based family literacy programs since our inception. Most recently, they invested in the organization’s Innovation Fund, which will launch emerging ideas and programmatic evolutions in the multigenerational learning space.

Learn more about the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to reach the 35.7 million adults ages 18-64 who do not have a high school diploma by guiding them to better-paying, more stable jobs.

The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.

Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.

Learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation

PNC Grow Up Great

PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.

PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994 to advance early literacy and learning resources for vulnerable families. Current efforts supported by PNC include a collaborative initiative in two at-risk Detroit communities that engages families to support vocabulary development for children under age 5.

NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.

Learn more about PNC Grow Up Great

Better World Books

Better World Books selected NCFL as its domestic literacy partner in 2005 and has raised more than $1 million to support NCFL’s work and donated more than $15 million to support literacy and education efforts worldwide. Better World Books is a triple-bottom-line online bookstore, working equally for people, planet and profit. Each book purchased powers literacy across the world.

Better World Books’ support of NCFL has provided books and workshops to families after Hurricane Katrina, donated large book donations to literacy programs and families nationwide and fueled innovative family literacy and learning programs and resources in libraries, schools and community-based organizations. In addition to their work for literacy and education, Better World Books diverts books from landfills and offers carbon-balanced shipping.

Read more about Better World Books

Goodling Institute

NCFL has partnered with the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University since 2001, working collaboratively to further research, professional development, and policy efforts for family literacy and intergenerational learning.

The work of this partnership includes, but is not limited to, a strong research strand at NCFL's national annual convening, the Families Learning Summit; advocacy for family literacy and learning to further support for and inclusion of family-focused education in new and ongoing legislation; and dissemination of the latest research, resources, information, and professional development opportunities for literacy and learning practitioners and advocates, including the Certificate in Family Literacy provided by the Goodling Institute.

Learn more about the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University