LOS ANGELES — More than two dozen students who took part in an online high school completion program offered by the Los Angeles Public Library received diplomas Jan. 26 at a ceremony attended by Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city officials.
The 28 students, ranging in age from their 20s to 50s, are the first to graduate from the library’s accredited Career Online High School program, which is also the first in the nation being offered to adults by a public library.
“L.A. is a city of second chances, and our libraries are a vital resource to help level the playing field of opportunity,” Garcetti said. “As today’s graduates complete their secondary education through the Career Online High School, we are inspired by the power of these types of programs to transform the lives of Angelenos.”
City Librarian John Szabo said “the library is changing lives in a very big way.” The diplomas allowing the graduates to be “better prepared to find a job, advance in their career or continue their education,” he said.
More than 25 percent of adults in Los Angeles do not have a high school diploma, according to U.S. Census data.
Angie Velasquez, a graduate of Career Online High School, said students have various reasons for not obtaining their high school diplomas the first time, “whether it was taking care of our families, having to work multiple jobs or something else that prevented us from finishing.”
“There is one thing that we all have in common, and that is determination,” said Velasquez, who now works in the hospitality industry.
Career Online High School is operated by Gale, a company that provides educational content to libraries.
Enrollment is free. Anyone interested in taking part in the program must fill out an online self-assessment, take a pre-requisite course and sit for an in-person interview.
Each student who is enrolled is paired with an academic coach and has 18 months to complete the coursework.
The Career Online High School program is funded through contributions from the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, the Clinton Global Initiative Scholarship Matching Program and the California State Library.
More information about the program is at http://www.lapl.org/cohs.