Jacob Barrett, a valued associate at the Goodwill store in Shelbyville, originally graduated from the Indiana School for the Blind. He decided to pursue a life skills path that focused on achieving independence as an adult rather than a Core 40 diploma. In addition to his visual impairment, Jacob has a learning disability with visual processing problems and is completely deaf without his cochlear implants.
“I wanted to do something worthwhile with my time,” Jacob said. “It was the best decision I made.”
The support of Jacob’s teachers helped change his perspective on education.
“I did not like math or English, but The Excel Center changed that entirely,” Jacob said. “The teachers make sure we have everything we need to be successful.”
Jacob’s mother, Michelle Barrett, also agrees that the one-on-one attention he receives is a big difference from other programs.
“Teachers at The Excel Center have a unique ability to communicate with Jacob so that he understands the material,” Michelle said.
According to the National Federation of The Blind, only 31 % of adults in the United States with visual impairments have attained a high school diploma or GED. In about a year, Jacob plans to be one of them.
“When I graduate from The Excel Center, my goal is to become an IT specialist with the skills to fix computers and servers,” Jacob said.
Jacob encourages others with learning barriers to consider pursuing a diploma at The Excel Center.
“The Excel Center has opened new doors for me and given me a chance to succeed in what I want to do,” Jacob said. “If you take the time you need to study, you can be successful.”