Army GED program ends, Victim of the unemployment crisis?

Exam: GED Test - General Educational Development Test: Social Studies, Language Arts - Writing, Science, Language Arts - Reading, Mathematics

General Education Test (GED) has for long been the brand name for a high-school equivalent credential in the United States. The test serves as an opportunity for school dropouts to join college and start a career by proving their proficiency in knowledge and skills.Joining the United States Armysimilar to the other services also requires any individual to possess a high school diploma or GED.

The United States Army ended the GED Pilot Program in the year 2010. The program offered even the school dropouts to join the United States military force by enlisting themselves to earn the GED certification while serving the nation as a soldier. The program had facilitated the recruitment of more than 3,000 people to the Army by enabling them to earn a high school equivalency credential after joining as a soldier.

Objective ofArmy offering GED Pilot Program

The GED pilot program was initiated in the nation’s biggest Initial Entry Training Centre for the United States Army at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. Also known as Army’s prep school, the objective of opening this school in the year 2008 was to meet the dearth of soldiers for the war against Afghanistan and Iraq. Only 28% of the population between the ages of 17 to 24 qualified for being recruited as a soldier and the rest 72% were either school dropouts or did not meet the minimum health and character requirement of the recruitment standards of Army.The only option for increasing the recruitment numbers for the wars was to aid the youngsters interested in joining the Army in raising their education standards as the training standards could be compromised.

The best alternative available was to relax the minimum standards of education by providing an opportunity for undereducated aspiring soldiers to join the Army training and simultaneously complete high school equivalency test, GED.  Through the formation of Army prep school, a unique opportunity was provided to individuals to not only complete their high school diploma but also start a career with the Army at the same time.The program was a win-win situation for the cadets and the Army as it helped the individuals to earn a GED degree while serving the nation and the Army could increase its strength through more and more recruitments. Moreover, it also boosted the nation’s education standards of the people and the population with the high school qualification.

Eligibility for Army GED Program

As per the minimum education standards of Military, 15% of the overall enlistments in a year are allowed to have a GED credential. Although, during the times of shortage in soldiers during 2008, the Army designed a program especially for aspiring soldiers who do not possess either a high school diploma or a GED credential. This program known as the Army GED Plus Enlistment Program enabled candidates to earn a GED credential under the sponsorship of Army. However, the applicants needed to be fulfil some criteria for being eligible for this program which was offered in limited numbers in the specific parts of the country specially the inter-city parts.

The applicants must:

  • Be eighteen years of age.
  • Have attended minimum one year of high school and unable to return for completion of the diploma.
  • Score 46 or more in Assessment of Individual Motivation (AIM) test and 50 or more in Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test.
  • Not require a moral, and drug and alcohol waiver.
  • Have a GED enrolment letter with the beginning and end date of the program.

Success of the Program

The Army GED program proved to be great success providing growth opportunity for individuals, the United States military and the education standards of the nation as a whole.Since the beginning of the program in 2008, it filled approximately 10% of the positions in the Army every year. With an equal opportunity for the top half scorers of the academic tests for entry into Army, the program produced graduates for various high ranking jobs including engineering, computer and mechanical positions, infantry and military police.

The program also resulted in increasing the job tenure of the soldiers. Statistics show that soldiers who joined Army through the GED program stayed longer in service than the ones who already owned a high school diploma. Around 16% recruits with high school diploma before joining left the service within the service term of two years compared to 11.6% recruits who earned GED through Army. The program not only offered the individuals to serve their nation but also find a respectable solution for their unemployment and poverty.

End of Army GED Program

With the recession setting in, the United States witnesses its worst economic crisis leading to a large scale of job cuts across the nation. With the rise in unemployment levels, more and more people with high school diploma enlisted themselves to join the Army through the Army GED program. The percentage of service personnel who earned high school graduation through the program rose from 82.8% in 2008 to 94.6% in 2009. Moreover, due to lack of job opportunities a large percentage of people with high school diploma were left unemployed resulting in the increase in the number of high school graduates willing to join the Military service.

With the purpose of the initiation of the program by the Military to increase the number of recruits being fulfilled efficiently, the Army hadno need to continue with the program for encouraging more aspiring soldiers to join the Army. Thus, in 2010, the Army GED program was ended. Henceforth, any individual aspiring to be soldier and serve the nation through Military service will have to fulfil the minimum education  criteria of being a high school graduate or a GED credential holder for joining the Army.

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