The Los Angeles Public Library celebrated the 100th graduate of its Career Online High School (COHS) in a ceremony at Central Library, which featured Mayor Eric Garcetti; City Librarian John F. Szabo; and Bich Ngoc Cao, President of the Board of Library Commissioners. Los Angeles Public Library was the first public library in the nation to offer adults 19 and over the opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma and career certificate online through COHS.
“Today’s graduation tells a story about the spirit of Los Angeles,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Our city is a place where it is always possible to learn, grow and achieve.”
The library began its program in 2014, enrolling qualified adults in a pilot program that offered grants to residents of the City of Los Angeles. There is no cost to students for the program, who are looking to advance their careers, prepare for workforce entry or continue their education.
To date, 135 students have graduated from the program, and an additional 265 are currently enrolled. The March, 2018 graduation ceremony is the third held at the library—the first two being in 2016 and 2017 respectively. However, the level of participation in the program has increased to the point where the library is already planning a second ceremony during fall this year.
“We are celebrating our 100th graduate in the Los Angeles Public Library's program, Career Online High School, and we couldn't be prouder,” said City Librarian, John F. Szabo. “Diplomas change lives; education changes lives; and the library will continue to offer innovative ways in which all our community members can change their lives for the better.”
Los Angeles has among the nation’s highest high school dropout rates, with upwards of 25 percent of adult residents lacking a high school diploma, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. There are so many reasons that a high school education can be interrupted: family needs, illness, working multiple jobs. A traditional high school curriculum with daily classes does not work for everyone.
Once enrolled, COHS pairs each student with an academic coach, who provides the student with an individual career path, offers ongoing guidance, evaluates performance and connects the student with the resources needed to master the courses. Students have up to 18 months to complete the program.
Funding for the Career Online High School is provided by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, The Clinton Global Initiative Scholarship Matching Program and the State Library.
For more information about the Career Online High School program, including the qualification requirements and application process, visit lapl.org/diploma.