High school completion leads to increased earnings and contribution to local economy, plus higher postsecondary enrollment rates

For graduates like city employee Willie Chaviz, a high school diploma is a direct path to career advancement. Chaviz, age 53, was promoted to General Supervisor of the Public Works Department after earning his diploma. He is pictured here with Chesapeake Public Library Director Amanda Jackson (middle) and Chesapeake City Manager Christopher Price (right).

The Library of Virginia has just announced that it will expand its partnership with Career Online High School (COHS) to the Richmond Public Library, Handley Regional Library, and Rockbridge Regional Library. This means that adult residents in Frederick, Clarke, Bath, and Rockbridge counties, as well as the cities of Winchester, Lexington, and Buena Vista, can now earn a high school diploma at no cost them.

“The Library of Virginia is dedicated to supporting lifelong learning for all,” said Nan Carmack, Director of Library Development and Networking. “We are excited to offer this opportunity, as well.”

A leader in adult high school education, COHS has been delivered in select Virginia libraries since 2016. Recognizing the program’s economic impact and societal value in cities like Chesapeake where it is currently offered, the state library decided to grow the program to additional regions. 

“This is a wonderful program to support our vision of being an exceptional place to live, learn, and work,” said City Manager Christopher Price at a recent Chesapeake Public Library graduation ceremony. “We work to recruit companies to come here….They want a talented workforce, an educated workforce—and getting that diploma is critical. Congratulations on behalf of a grateful city. We look forward to you deploying your talents in our city for many years to come.”

“You’ve talked about the impact this will have on your own life but don’t forget the impact you have on this entire room of people,” added Chesapeake Public Library Director Amanda Jackson. “You are like a pebble in the water making ripples that go on further than you will ever know.” 

According to the 2020 US Census Bureau report, over 835,000 Virginia adults age 25+ lack a high school diploma, making it difficult for them to advance their education or career. The impact of increasing Virginia’s graduation rate in terms of earnings, contribution, and postsecondary enrollment is illustrated in this Alliance for Excellent Education infographic.

In addition to the high school diploma, students earn a workforce certificate in one of 10 career paths. COHS provides a flexible online classroom, extensive support services, and personal academic coaches to help them succeed. Upon graduation, 76% of students intend to matriculate into postsecondary education in community colleges, state universities, and vocational programs.

“Libraries offer a safe, supportive environment to foster learning and community. Our online education program for adults is a natural extension of library services that empower adults to learn and grow,” said COHS Superintendent of Schools Dr. Howard Liebman. “COHS students can receive support from library staff as well as from our academic coaches. Together, they help students achieve their goals.”

To learn more about the program in Virginia, including how to enroll and available scholarship opportunities, visit va.careeronlinehs.org.

About the Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia is one of the oldest agencies of Virginia government, founded in 1823 to preserve and provide access to the state’s incomparable printed and manuscript holdings. Its collection, which has grown steadily through the years, is the most comprehensive resource in the world for the study of Virginia history, culture, and government with over 130 million items in the collections. The Library also engages the public through in-person and virtual events, education programs, and online resources that reach nearly 4 million individuals each year throughout the commonwealth and beyond. The Library also supports Virginia public libraries by providing consulting, programs, and learning resources, as well as managing financial support as funded by the General Assembly. Learn more at www.lva.virginia.gov.  

About Career Online High School

COHS is part of Smart Horizons Career Online Education, the world’s first accredited online school district. COHS was designed to reengage adults and older youth in the education system and prepare them for the workplace or postsecondary education. The program includes a vocational certificate in career pathways such as home care professional, childcare, office management, security professional, commercial driving, retail customer service, food services, hospitality, manufacturing, and general career preparation. COHS is currently available through scholarships in more than 2,000 library locations throughout the U.S. To date, over 13,500 students have graduated from the district. For more information, visit www.shcoe.org.