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Okefenokee Technical College Observes International Literacy Day


Literacy improves lives of citizens, has positive impact on economy

Okefenokee Technical College, a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), is among organizations worldwide set to celebrate International Literacy Day on September 8. International Literacy Day, a declaration first proclaimed in 1965 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to focus attention on worldwide literacy needs, provides a dedicated time for literacy advocates to elevate adult education and family literacy throughout their communities.

According to the International Reading Association, more than 780 million of the world’s adults do not know how to read or write. In the United States alone, approximately one-in-five adults cannot read well enough to function successfully in the workforce. Closer to home, 1.2 million Georgians over the age of 18 do not have a high school diploma or the equivalent, 18 percent of Georgia’s adult population. Among that number, Georgia has thirty-two counties where 30 percent or more of the adult population does not have a high school education. The number increases when 16- and 17- year-olds who drop out of school are included.

Therefore, by Proclamation Governor Nathan Deal has designated September 8, 2013, as Literacy Day and September 23-29, 2013, as Literacy Week in Georgia. In its role of administering the General Educational Development (GED) tests in the state, the TCSG is calling attention to the critical need for a fully literate Georgia, as well as to its free local programs and services that prepare Georgians to take and pass GED tests.

Also a participant in the celebration of literacy, Okefenokee Technical College requests assistance from area citizens and the community at large, including faith-based organizations, civic groups and community service agencies, to promote literacy and GED completion.

The following quick facts serve as talking points:

A person with a high school or GED diploma will earn $7,658 more annually than someone without a diploma, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

GED preparation classes are free. OTC has an adult education center in each of the six counties it serves.

The GED diploma is a first step toward better jobs, further training and higher education.

Two of every three people who take the GED test plan to obtain additional education.

In college, GED graduates perform as well as traditional high school graduates.

GED graduates are more likely to encourage their children to finish school.

Many GED graduates say earning their diploma helped them to improve their self-esteem.

The GED test measures many of the U.S. Department of Labor's necessary workplace skills that are valued by employers.

The GED test measures the skills and knowledge that traditional high school seniors should know and be able to do.

Georgia GED graduates may be eligible to receive the $500 HOPE GED Grant to use toward postsecondary education in Georgia.

The current version of the GED test is expiring at the end of 2013. GED candidates who have taken one or more tests should complete the series by December, or their scores will expire. Individuals in this situation need to finish the test now so they will not have to re-take the parts already passed.

The GED diploma is recognized nationwide and is accepted by more than 95 percent of U.S. employers, colleges and universities.

“Okefenokee Technical College is committed to assisting area citizens who need a GED diploma,” said OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert. “Obtaining a GED is a life-changing milestone, resulting in more employment opportunities and higher earning potential. OTC is here to assist individuals to this end.”

“The goal of the OTC adult education program is to improve the lives of neighbors and friends and create more employment options by adding numbers to the well-educated, highly skilled workforce that attracts business and industry to our state,” added Andy Brannen, OTC vice president for economic development.

Persons prepared to take the GED test must first pay a $160 test fee for a battery of five tests or $32 per individual test.   Those who cannot afford the test fee may be eligible for financial assistance through a GED scholarship program administered by the Okefenokee Technical College Foundation or the TCSG. 

The GED Testing Program in Georgia is jointly administered by the GED Testing Service, LLC and the Technical College System of Georgia. The GED test is developed by the GED Testing Service, LLC.

Additional information about GED testing is available by calling 1-800-94 MY GED, visiting and, or calling an Okefenokee Technical College adult education office.

Photo 1                                             
OTC adult education full-time instructors (L to R) Darrell Casey (Charlton), Gloria Reid (Pierce), Beth Strickland (Bacon), Eugenia Evans (ESL), Sheryl Trammell (former Brantley instructor), Cathy Daniels (Ware), and Patia Tolle (Clinch) promote literacy daily and encourage GED candidates to contact them for information on obtaining a GED. The current Brantley County adult education instructor, Stephen McQuaig, joins the group in advising GED candidates to complete the GED testing series in 2013. The current version of the GED test is expiring December 31.

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