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Workforce Innovation Submitted By:
Denver Office of Economic Development

GED Close-Out Campaign

Community Challenge/Problem

In 2013, an estimated 13,000 Colorado residents had completed one or more sections of the GED but had failed to complete all sections; a significant number of those live in Denver. Barriers to success include (a) a high percentage needing just the math section but who believe they cannot master it; (b) the cost of the test; (c) some confusion over advertising by private, for-profit test prep firms; (d) people not appreciating the potential earning value; and (e) a longer span of time since abandoning the process appears to generally lower motivation to complete it. The urgency, of course, was that the test would be changing in 2014 and that sections previously passed would essentially “expire” and could not be carried forward.

Board Solution/Innovation

Denver launched a communications and outreach campaign to encourage people to finish in 2013 so as not to have to start over. To help raise awareness, Denver convened a group of stakeholders in the adult-education realm; our staff also did targeted outreach to employers through our largest metro chamber of commerce. They developed a regular schedule of orientation sessions and training. There were four “amnesty days” when the test fees were waived, and Denver covered fees for many others as well. OED promoted the campaign in local media, and Denver’s mayor did a live interview on the top-rated TV station. Denver’s in-house video production studio produced a PSA that aired repeatedly on the city’s public channel.

Outcomes & Results

By December 31, this campaign had helped 323 test-takers successfully attain the GED - a number that exceeded goal by 29%. While the time urgency ahead of the test-format change is no longer a factor, OED has continued to promote the importance of completing the GED in 2014, along with the ease and convenience of using the Denver Workforce Centers to do so.

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