Awards Time

Dallas Public Library makes top 10 list for its program helping workers

Dallas Public Library makes top 10 list for program helping workers

Dallas Public Library Erik Jonsson
Dallas Public Library was one of 10 libraries to be recognized. Courtesy photo

The Dallas Public Library won a top award for innovation for its GED Testing and Workforce Development Project, which helps Dallas adults earn their GED.

The award came from the Urban Libraries Council, the membership association of North America's public libraries. Their panel of experts selected Dallas from a pool of over 250 submissions. The library was one of 10 libraries to win an award, representing the 21st century library's role as a leader and pioneer for change.

Having a GED allows residents to hold better jobs and earn high wages. In some parts of Dallas, nearly 50 percent of adults over the age of 25 have less than a high school education.

Dallas Public Library's GED Testing and Workforce Development Project was created to address the needs of the nearly 28 percent of Dallas County adults with less than a high-school education. Dallas Public Library opened the first GED testing center in a public library in Texas. They've since become the leader among Dallas-area certified testing centers.

In 2016, the library administered the most exams (870) with the most graduates (131) and highest pass rate (79 percent). The library also offers scholarships for qualifying learners.

"By offering GED testing in our Central Library and full scholarships in partnership with Atmos Energy, we have lowered barriers for adults seeking to change their lives, says Jo Giudice, Director of Libraries. "The testing center allows the library to walk with adults through their GED journey and beyond to pursuing better jobs or higher education."

This program consistently surpasses qualitative and quantitative goals, ultimately serving as a catalyst for change among test-takers by introducing them to DPL’s vast array of resources and helping them to secure jobs and pursue secondary education.