In 2010, the Army ended a successful program that recruited nearly 3,000 soldiers into the military force, the program that provided the unique opportunity for enlisting soldiers to earn General Educational Development certificates (GED), or high school diploma equivalency while serving their country.
Originally created to increase recruitment numbers for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army GED program served the individual and entire military simultaneously by boosting graduation rates and military strength.
GED ARMY PROGRAM SUCCESSES
Based in Fort Jackson, the Army GED program has been filling the 10 percent service positions open to certificate graduates since 2008. The opportunity to earn a GED through the military service was beneficial both to struggling individuals, and to an understaffed Army during wartime. For new enlistees, the GED Program provided a win/win situation: a chance to serve their country and gain an honorable way out of poverty and economic stagnation by gaining their GED.
ADDING UP THE SCORES
The Army GED program gave equal opportunity to recruits who had scored in the top half of the Army's academic entry tests. GED graduates served high-ranking Army jobs such as infantry, engineering, military police, computer and mechanical positions.
According to the statistics, earning a GED through the military also keeps soldiers enlisted longer. About 11.6 percent of Army GED graduates left military service before a two-year term of service ended, compared with 16 percent of recruits who had a GED before enlisting.
WHY END THE ARMY GED PROGRAM?
The GED pilot program, or Army's prep school, began in 2008 when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan increased demand for military service members.
In 2008, 82.8 percent of enlisted service members had already graduated from high school, and in 2009 that number rose to 94.6 percent. The Army GED program's demise is due to the success of military recruiting efforts; the military no longer needs to entice potential candidates with a GED Program.
For potential recruits, their chances of getting into the service are slim without a high school diploma. Individuals must complete educational requirements necessary for Army enlistment.
The Army GED program was considered a great success; in fact, the GED program may be reintroduced and implemented in times when military recruiting efforts slump and more recruits are needed to boost military enrollment numbers.