Two graduates value diploma as stepping stone to health care career success

The Sacramento Public Library honored 57 adults, who, years after leaving high school, earned their high school diplomas through the Career Online High School (COHS) program offered by the library. In this special ceremony, students from the 2020 and 2021 graduating classes were commemorated. 

Graduates included Angel McKinney, 34, who was joined by her son, Ziyaad, also a 2021 high school graduate; and Shante Scott, age 37, who was accompanied by her son Kayon.  

McKinney shared that earning her high school diploma immediately helped her progress in her career. “After completing this program, I became a Certified Nursing Assistant, which warranted a promotion at my current job,” she said. 

McKinney plans to continue her education to become a registered nurse. 

Fellow graduate Scott, who earned her diploma with a certificate in home care professional also plans to pursue a career in health care. 

More than 200 Sacramento Library graduates to date

Through a partnership with COHS and the California State Library, the Sacramento Public Library offers a nationally accredited high school program, which includes a 24/7 online classroom, personal academic coaches, and real-world career training. The library grants scholarships to COHS as part of its high school education programming. Since 2014, more than 200 students have graduated from the Sacramento Public Library’s COHS program. 

“Regardless of your age, the library is here to help you build a strong foundation,” said Rivkah Sass, Sacramento Public Library Director and CEO, during the commencement ceremony. “We will meet you where you are to help you reach your education goals.” 

In addition to the diploma, COHS students graduate with an entry-level workforce certificate in their chosen career path, plus a resume, cover letter, and other tools to start or advance their careers. 

COHS offers second chance for those “weighed down by life’s obstacles” 

During the commencement ceremony, McKinney spoke to her fellow graduates about her journey to this milestone. 

“I’m grateful there are programs like this to support and uplift those of us who have been weighed down by life’s obstacles,” said McKinney. “I grew up in foster care, became a mother at 16, and left high school as a teenager. I always regretted not earning my diploma. But with life’s many challenges, education took a backseat.”

The COHS program offered through public libraries helps graduates prepare to enter the workforce with improved employment opportunities and/or continue on to higher education. 

In fact, 91% of COHS graduates through public libraries enrolled in or plan to pursue post-secondary education.* In the Sacramento area, COHS students have matriculated into schools such as Sacramento State University, Sacramento City College, Cosumnes River College, American River College, and Carrington College.

Part of Smart Horizons Career Online Education, the world’s first private accredited online school district, COHS has partnered with more than 1,800 library locations across the country.

To learn more about the program, including how to enroll and available scholarship opportunities, visit the Sacramento Public Library website.

*Source: 2019–2020 Career Online High School Library Alumni Survey