Gale & New Mexico State Library Launch Free Program to Provide Adult Residents Accredited High School Diplomas

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 14.2% of adults in New Mexico do not have a high school diploma or equivalency. See how @galecengage & @nmstatelibrary are working together to increase NM #graduation rates.

New Mexicans can now obtain their high school diploma through their local public library. New Mexico State Library is offering Career Online High School (COHS) from Gale, a Cengage company, making it the first program in the state to give qualified residents the chance to earn an accredited high school diploma through their public library.

Currently, six public libraries in New Mexico are offering Career Online High School to qualified adults (19 and older) who are looking to advance their careers, prepare for workforce entry or continue their education. There is no cost to students for the program, but enrollment is limited and requires a library card. The six participating libraries include: The Public Library Albuquerque and Bernalillo CountyBelen Public LibrarySanta Fe Public Library and three of New Mexico’s Rural Bookmobiles: Bookmobile East (Tucumcari), Bookmobile Northeast (Cimarron Library) and Bookmobile West (Los Lunas).

The New Mexico State Library decided to invest in the COHS program in order to help New Mexicans and New Mexico public libraries meet the immediate needs of the communities the libraries serve as they confront adverse education and economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Given the education and unemployment situations in the state, many adults have a need to complete their high school education and update their skills to meet the demands of a changing world. So, the goal of this statewide program is to bring nontraditional adult learners back into the educational system and prepare them for jobs in growing sectors of the economy,” said Lori Thornton, the Public Services Bureau Chief at New Mexico State Library. “Public libraries have never been more essential and are embracing a new role as agents of transformative social engagement, actively working to better serve their communities and provide more opportunities. COHS is one of those opportunities and it can make a huge difference in people’s lives and the economic well-being of the community and the state.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 14.2% of New Mexico residents age 18 or older do not have a high school diploma or equivalency. Additionally, Education Week’s annual Quality Counts report lists the state last in its “chance for success” index.

The COHS program enables adults to earn their high school diploma while gaining real-world skills. Students graduate with an accredited high school diploma and a certificate in a high-growth, high-demand career field, along with a resume, cover letter and other tools to start or advance their career.

Once enrolled, students can access and complete program courses online from anywhere using a computer, laptop or tablet, with up to 18 months to finish the program. Additionally, students can complete the program sooner by transferring previously earned high school credits or credits from any of the four GED subject areas tests that were passed at a Performance Level 2 or above (145+). Concurrently with the diploma, students earn an entry-level  career certificate in one of nine employment areas, ranging from security professional to childcare and education to home care professional.

With Career Online High School, students can:

  • Earn an accredited high school diploma while preparing for a career in one of nine high-demand, high-growth fields.
  • Take classes online, with the flexibility of 24/7 access to classwork.
  • Be supported by an academic coach and certified instructors who care about their success.
  • Gain career readiness with a career portfolio including a resume, a cover letter and job preparation support.

For more information about the New Mexico State Library COHS program, please visit:

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

Current issue of Equity & Access:

Equity & Access - Issue 28

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