(St. Louis Public Radio) - 

By the end of the year, 88 students will begin a program that could result in them earning a high school degree.

The Career Online High School is a partnership between the St. Louis Public Library and St. Louis County Library.

“We are trained to find ways to meet patrons where they are and come up with programs and services to help people in our community,” said Kristen Sorth, director of the St. Louis County Library.

Sorth along with Waller McGuire, executive director of the St. Louis Public Library, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

“We’re always looking for ways to address the region,” said McGuire. “Patrons don’t think of borders between libraries.”

McGuire said the St. Louis Public Library looked into offering the online degree program earlier but the costs were too high. Only when the library systems in the county and city teamed up, did the program become a reality.

Adult residents of both library districts are eligible for the Career Online High School (COHS). Potential students need to be at least 25 years old and have successfully completed 8th grade. COHS specifically rewards diplomas as opposed to a GED (General Education Development) HSE (High School Equivalency) program.

“Big companies pay attention to the worker base of a community,” McGuire. “Here with high school online you literally get a diploma online that’s accredited in all 50 states.”

Acknowledging that it can be difficult to attain many jobs without a high school diploma, McGuire and Sorth mentioned that a high school diploma allows their patrons, in a way, to start a new life.

“I do think this is just the beginning,” McGuire said of the partnership between the two libraries. “I think this is really just a start and I would love to see this blossom into a whole variety of options.”

Earning the online degree typically takes between 12-18 months and includes an online coach to help students through the process.

More information about the program can be found here.

Republished with permission of St. Louis Public Radio: http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/st-louis-and-st-louis-county-libraries-partner-offer-online-high-school-degree-program

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