Creating an Adult Education Program for the 40 Million Adults without a High School Diploma

Life is full of challenges. Often, it can take a while to learn how to overcome and succeed in the challenges presented to us. For Dr. Howard Liebman, CEO of Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE) and Kari Greenfield, VP – Academic Partnerships, accomplishments coincide with a high GSD index – get stuff done. DisruptED hosts Ron Stefanski and Dr. Caesar Mickens invited Dr. Liebman and Greenfield to share how their mindsets help them overcome stifled progress along the education spectrum.

“I think, you know, passion is important because if you’re going to try mindsets and you’re going to change schemas of thinking you really have to be passionate about what you’re trying to do,” stated Dr. Liebman.

Disruption along the traditional education system can be extremely positive. For Dr. Liebman and Greenfield, this meant building a program that helps to re-engage adults back into the educational system to complete their high school diploma.

Dr. Liebman noted, “There’s 40 million adults in the country who don’t have a high school diploma. If we’re going to reengage that we’ve got to take a very tactical and strategic approach to how we’re going to do that moving forward.”

To do this, SHCOE designs their program around mitigating the traditional flight stimula presented in students’ brains, “We want to eliminate that stimula in the brain to activate the flight [response],” Dr. Liebman said, and to do this, “Our students declare a major upon point of enrollment.” In addition to taking just their major over the first four months, SHCOE also provides a relatable academic coach to help students re-engage.

Greenfield noted that many SHCOE students lead busy lives, “Our average age student is mid-30s, 70% are women…63% of our students are parents…these are busy individuals…”

Through SHCOE, students are able to learn occupational skills and obtain their GED to provide a better life for themselves and their families.

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