In the city of Dallas, one out of every four adults lacks a high school education. In a region increasingly weighed down with widespread poverty, chipping away at that statistic is one of the best ways to get people into higher paying jobs and out of crisis. Yet, for decades, it has been hard to get a GED in Dallas.
At Wilkinson Center, where we offer GED prep and other adult education classes, we can attest it’s not for lack of people wanting to get their diploma or do the work. The problem is paying for and taking the test. When you lack a good income and access to transportation, getting across town to pay more than $100 to take the test can be an insurmountable challenge. Until recently, in fact, there was only one testing center in all of Dallas.
The Real Estate Council (TREC) Foundation has helped solve this problem for hundreds of GED hopefuls each year. Thanks to a grant from TREC Foundation and TREC members who provided the professional skills needed to complete the project, Wilkinson Center has opened and equipped an official Pearson VUE® GED Testing Center. Here, our students test for free, just across the street from our Family Education Center.
Since the East Dallas center opened in February 2016, we have administered close to 1,000 GED tests. This includes our students, plus students from programs outside Wilkinson Center. Test fees from those other programs contribute to funding the testing center on an ongoing basis.
For TREC Foundation’s leadership in this and many other community initiatives, Wilkinson Center will honor The Real Estate Council at its annual Can Do! Luncheon, on May 9 at Dallas Country Club. Every year, Wilkinson Center celebrates entrepreneurship in philanthropy and the “Can Do” attitude that makes great things happen in our community. Ashlee & Chris Kleinert will be honored alongside TREC.
Thanks to TREC Foundation and TREC members who volunteered their expertise, the convenience of our new GED Testing Center ensures more people can earn their GED and move on to a new chapter – whether that is a higher paying job or enrolling at a local college. Together, we are fighting poverty, one diploma at a time.
Anne Reeder is Executive Director of Wilkinson Center, a nonprofit organization that helps people build pathways to self-sufficiency with dignity and respect. Under Reeder’s leadership, Wilkinson Center has built a bundled program model that addresses the complex web of challenges that keep people in poverty, from food insecurity and lack of education to financial instability and underemployment. Learn more about Wilkinson Center or follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.