Durham GED program back in business

CorrespondentApril 11, 2014 

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Fran Alexander encourages a student at Durham’s EDGE Training & Placement. The nonprofit has found a new home after being forced to leave its Mangum Street office.

HARRY LYNCH — hlynch@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— The EDGE Training and Placement program has found a new home with a Durham nonprofit that is letting the GED program use its space.

EDGE (Education, Development, Growth and Employment) helps students ages 16 to 24 who have left public schools continue their education by obtaining a General Education Diploma.

Holding what she thought would be the program’s last graduation ceremony in January because it had run out of money, EDGE founder and director Fran Alexander figured the program had seen its last days.

Instead, it has become part of a new “job incubator” at CAARE Inc. to address employment needs in Durham. The free service joins CAARE’s existing health, housing and employment assistance programs.

Classes are held at 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday in CAARE’s onsite training center at 214 Broadway St. where students have access to a computer lab for job searches. Two certified volunteer teachers are also helping with lessons and tutoring.

Unable to continue paying rent and utilities at its old location at 705 S. Magnum St., EDGE was forced to leave its building. With CAARE’s offer, Alexander said she and her students are excited and grateful.

Many EDGE students cannot return to public schools because of criminal records or gang association. Some are teenagers struggling through pregnancies or raising young children who have dropped out.

Since 2007, the program has worked with hundreds of students, with a majority completing their goal and finding employment or enrolling in college or a university.

Statistics from the GED Testing Service’s 2012 annual report find about 53 percent of test candidates in North Carolina are between ages 16 to 24 and the average highest grade completed for the states’ test takers is 10th grade.

With more potential students calling each day, Alexander is optimistic.

“Hopefully we can continue helping a lot of people get an education,” she said.

To inquire about EDGE or to donate to CAARE and EDGE, contact CAARE at 919-683-5300 or Alexander at falexander2@yahoo.com.

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