Dr. Howard Liebman, Chief Executive Officer of Smart Horizons Career Online Education, and Ron Stefanski, Chief Business Development Officer of ed2go, part of Cengage Learning, recently participated in the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting.

CGI America is an annual event focused on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the United States. Former President Clinton hosted the third annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois, in June 2013, which brought together leaders from the business, foundation, NGO, and government sectors.

SHCOE and ed2go joined the CGI initiative in an effort to further their work to remove economic barriers through education and the use of technology.

“The objectives of CGI America directly align with our mission to expand access to affordable high school education, specifically career-focused education, to those who are economically disadvantaged,” stated Mr. Stefanski. “We achieve this through our AdvancED/SACS accredited online high school diploma program, as well as our almost 500 online workforce training and development programs.”

In early 2012, ed2go teamed up with SHCOE, the world’s first AdvancED/SACS accredited online school district, to create a solution to what Stefanski refers to as “the high school dropout crisis.”

“The high school dropout rate has increased dramatically,” Stefanski explained. “This means there are millions of people in the United States who lack the basic educational background, as well as the required skills, for many jobs. This is a crisis for not only these individuals, but for a nation in need of economic recovery.”

Launched in May 2012, Career Online High School serves people who have limited career options due to lacking a high school diploma. The AdvancED/SACS accredited high school program enables students to earn both a high school diploma and a career certificate in high-demand employment areas.

Since the launch of Career Online High School just a year ago, it has served more than 2,500 students.

The school’s existing career certifications include areas such as Childcare (CDA), Transportation Services (CDL), and General Professional Skills. As part of their work with CGI America, ed2go and SHCOE recently launched two new certificate tracks aligned to CGI’s core objectives.

“First, we launched a retail/customer service skills certificate track to support CGI’s commitment to ‘strengthen the retail workforce,’” said Stefanski. “Then we recently rolled out a food service and hospitality skills certificate track to support CGI’s commitment to ‘collaboration across the service sector.’”

Stefanski said it was an honor to be included in the invitation-only event, stating that, “CGI is providing an unprecedented opportunity to move our work forward.”