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Hosted by the Racine County GED Initiative, the first GED Fair held Thursday netted 86 people expressing interest in obtaining their GED diploma.

The Initiative — which includes Gateway Technical College, Racine Unified School District, Racine Literacy Council, Wisconsin Department of Corrections and United Way of Racine County — aims to increase the number of Racine County residents that have their high school diploma or passing a general education development (GED) test. The GED fair was held at Gateway Technical College.

According to the Racine County Workforce Development Center, 15,000 adults living in Racine County do not have a high school diploma or GED. If the county can change that dynamic, the county would see a 22 percent increase in its labor participation rates and a $4,000 annual increase in earnings.

This is why the fair was held. Attendees learned how to get their GED, take an initial test and learn about available community resources.

“The fair was a first step to achieving our goal of 100 Racine County residents attaining their GED by the end of this year,” said Mark Mundl, manager of Racine County Workforce Solutions.

The fair was success because of the partnerships, he said. The goals of the Racine County GED Initiative are to:

  • Align and leverage existing GED attainment resources.
  • Increase the number of Racine County residents who have a high school credential.
  • Establish a pipeline of “ready” employees and students for local businesses and educational institutions.
  • Decrease Racine County’s unemployment and poverty rates.

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave called the initiative innovative. He said the initiative aligns with the county’s priority of making its residents “work-ready” and removing barriers to employment.

“Racine County is committed to removing barriers, financial and otherwise, so our residents can get their high school credential and get better jobs and more education.”

To start the process of getting a GED, call the GED Hotline at (262) 638-6373.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.