When Gary Moore was 11 years old, his mother became ill, and he dropped out of school to work and help support his younger sisters. As his siblings grew older, Gary thought he might return to school, until his family suffered more hardship.

“After my grandpa’s passing, we lost our house. It sort of displaced us. We didn’t really have anywhere to go,” Gary said.

Now 27, Gary continues to work full-time and support his family. He is also enrolled at The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults. The Excel Center offers the opportunity for adults to earn a Core 40 high school diploma and removes barriers, such as lack of transportation and child care, to help students achieve their goals.

“If you don’t have a way to get to school, The Excel Center can get you here. If you are having trouble with housing, they can help you,” Gary said.

Gary works as a night shift baker and attends class starting at 9:00 a.m. He will often sleep in his car so he can arrive to school on time.

“I normally come from work, and I sleep in the parking lot,” Gary said. “My education is something I’ve always wanted, and it’s been a long time coming.”

Gary has earned multiple industry-recognized certifications at The Excel Center, including Customer Service, Business Etiquette, Business Communication, MSSC Safety and Hire Technology– all at no cost. Adults can also earn free college credits to pursue postsecondary education.

“It’s not just a high school diploma. They are willing to help you with a career,” Gary said.

With flexible scheduling and licensed instructors who facilitate math, humanities, science and social studies classes, The Excel Center prepares students for their next step, whether it’s a higher-wage career or college degree. Life coaches are also assigned to each student and offer support both inside and outside of the classroom.

“Everybody’s phenomenal here. The Excel Center has really helped me,” Gary said. “Without them, I’d probably still be twiddling my thumbs, trying to figure out what was going to happen next.”

Gary plans to graduate from The Excel Center West in November 2017 and become a firefighter.

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