Council on Postsecondary Education
Go, Earn, Do - GED brings new opportunities for Kentuckians
A new program from Amazon.com has already improved the lives of three young Kentuckians by helping them to earn their GED and get a full-time job.
The Go, Earn, Do–GED program, a joint effort of Amazon.com, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and Kentucky Adult Education, provides up to $40 for a GED test fee reimbursement and an Amazon.com gift card to GED graduates. This program is available to all GED graduates in a 20-county area regardless of whether they are interested in Amazon.com employment. The goal of the program is to increase the number of GED graduates over a two-year period in the company’s 20-county recruiting area – Adair, Barren, Bullitt, Boyle, Casey, Clinton, Cumberland, Green, Hardin, Hart, Larue, Lincoln, Marion, Mercer, Metcalfe, Nelson, Pulaski, Russell, Taylor and Washington counties.
“We are delighted that Amazon.com and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring this important program,” said Tom Layzell, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “We commend these organizations for their leadership and urge other businesses to consider getting involved.”
The first Go, Earn, Do–GED graduates hired by Amazon.com include Stacy Salazar of Hodgenville, Bambi Ramsey of Campbellsville, and Johnathan Thompson of Springfield. The stories of these new employees show the true impact of this program – improving the quality of life of Kentucky citizens.
Stacy Salazar, Hodgenville
Stacy Salazar decided to pursue her GED when her employer terminated her $6.50/hour job where she had worked for six years. Soon after she began looking for other employment, she realized that she was not going to find a good-paying job without her GED.
Stacy earned her GED through the Hodgenville Adult Education Program, which was where she learned about Amazon.com’s Go, Earn, Do–GED program. She went for a job interview a few weeks later and became Amazon.com’s first Go, Earn, Do–GED program employee.
“I think this program is really good. It’s nice that a company acknowledges that you are doing something to better yourself and tries to motivate you to pursue your goals,” Stacy said.
Stacy says she encourages other people who do not have a high school diploma to pursue their GED. “If you have the ability to do it, go for it. Earning your GED will bring opportunities for better jobs that are not available to you now,” she said.
Bambi Ramsey, Campbellsville
As a temporary, entry-level employee, Bambi Ramsey clearly saw the advantages of earning a GED. “I saw the opportunities that would be available if I pursued this goal,” she said. “There are so many other things you can do with a GED.”
Bambi worked, cared for her ill husband and studied for her GED test. In July, at 32 years old, Bambi earned her GED through the Taylor County Adult Education program and received a full-time permanent position with Amazon.com.
“I hope that my 10-year old son will learn from my experience and see that it is better to stay in school than to have to retrace your steps later in life,” says Bambi.
The new GED graduate has plans to continue her education. She hopes to apply for the nursing program that will begin at Campbellsville University in 2006. She advises others who are considering pursuing their GEDs to “hang in there- the outcome is worth it.”
Johnathan Thompson, Springfield
Johnathan Thompson was unemployed and recently dropped out of high school when he learned about the Go, Earn, Do–GED program at Amazon.com. At 18, Jonathan decided that earning his GED was the first step in pursuing his dream to be a poet.
“When I heard about this program, it encouraged me to start thinking seriously about the future,” said Johnathan. “I want to go to college and study English and literature. I knew I had to earn my GED in order to follow my dream.”
Johnathan took classes through the Washington County Adult Education program and recently completed his GED. He began a full-time position with Amazon.com on October 3. Johnathan hopes to attend Jefferson Community College to earn his associate’s degree and then move on to a university and earn his bachelor’s degree with a focus in poetry. He has already started collecting various books of poetry and conducting online research to explore different writing styles.
Johnathan encourages other Kentuckians pursuing their GEDs to keep a positive outlook. “If you study hard, you’ll succeed,” he says. “Have a good attitude, and you won’t fail.”
Amazon.com plans to implement Go, Earn, Do–GED in the Fayette County area for Amazon.com’s Lexington facility in the coming months. Contributions for Go, Earn, Do–GED and future initiatives to support GED and employment are managed by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Kentucky Adult Education is a unit of the Council on Postsecondary Education and provides GED instruction, workforce education, family literacy, English as second language and reading instruction at adult education centers in every Kentucky county. More information is available at www.kyae.ky.gov .
Kentucky's postsecondary education system encompasses eight public institutions and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, numerous independent institutions and Kentucky Adult Education. The system represents 231,612 students, 538,866 Kentucky alumni and 294,896 GED recipients. When Kentuckians earn postsecondary degrees, their skills improve and their wages go up; they are more likely to lead healthy lives and be engaged in their communities; and they build better futures for themselves and their families.