In under a year, 19-year-old attains GED and finishes first semester of HVAC

Nineteen-year-old Briar King of Granite City dropped out of high school just two months shy of his expected graduation. King found out that he needed another class and would have to continue another semester in order to graduate.

King found himself at the SWIC Sam Wolf Granite Campus talking to Adult Basic Education Early School Leaver Transition Program Coordinator Jennifer Kohnen about the services available through the program.

With her assistance, he enrolled in GED classes, attending two evenings a week to prepare for the equivalency exam. In April 2013, he earned his GED.

"I was pretty excited to know I'd gotten my GED," he said about meeting his goal to stay in line with his graduating class.

In addition to GED preparation, the program assists students between the ages of 16 and 21 who've left high school find employment or transition into college. King did both with Kohnen as his mentor.

He found employment in Granite City, working as summer help for the Street Department. He performed yard work and maintenance. 

In fall 2013, he was enrolled in general education classes at SWGCC. This spring, he's pursuing studies in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.

"Classes that prepared me to take the GED were a good opportunity to see what college would be like," he said, adding that Assistant Professor Keith Otten has helped a lot and made it easy to learn.

To learn about all the services available through the Early School Leaver Transition Program in Madison County, contact Kohnen at 618-931-0600, ext. 7358. Contact Coordinator Kerri Sierra-Scott at 618-282-6682, ext. 8001, for information about the St. Clair County program.