As with all of our services, our literacy program began as a response to an unmet need in our community. When we tested candidates for our culinary and carpentry training programs we were overwhelmed by the number of adults that tested below the 5th or 6th grade level as well as the number of men and women who did not have a high school diploma. Unfortunately there were long waiting lists for slots in existing GED programs.
With so many scores under 5th grade level, our students needed Adult Basic Education to get their math and reading levels up to a point where they could study for the GED exam. With the help of an organization called Rhode Island Regional Adult Learning (RIRAL) and support from the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), we began a program of education that would lead to a high school diploma for those who learned best through life skills and real world learning. Since we began the National External Program (NEDP) we have helped over 60 men and women obtain a diploma. Many of these students have gone on to pursue a college degree.