Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona unveiled the campus of its brand-new Papago Excel Center, a tuition-free, public charter high school for adults, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning. The nonprofit broke ground on the Papago Excel Center last year, but due to supply chain issues and construction delays, Goodwill moved to a temporary school for its first year.
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Tim O’Neal, CEO of Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona; Georgia Harris, Vice President of The Excel Center and Superintendent of Schools; and Sentari Minor, The Excel Center Board Director and Chair, spoke at the event welcoming the community to the new location. Additionally, Councilman Kevin Robinson presented a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Kate Gallego declaring August 7 as “Excel Center Day” in the City of Phoenix.
More than 700,000 adults in Arizona do not have a high school diploma, creating added barriers when it comes to job placements or career advancement. The new high school, located at 4837 E. McDowell Road in Phoenix, gives adults 18 and older a second chance at earning their diploma and provides opportunities for college credits and industry-recognized certifications. The new location also provides access to an on-site Career Center that offers no-cost career development and skills training to help students transition into new, fulfilling careers.
To help further break down barriers to finishing the program, students have wraparound services available to them including free childcare, transportation assistance, flexible schedules, and access to quality teachers and life coaches.
“We are incredibly excited to be in our brand-new building,” said Georgia Harris, Vice President of The Excel Center and Superintendent of Schools. “We enrolled more than 200 students in our first year, and the new, centrally-located space will allow us to continue to grow. Our team is looking forward to helping even more students and empowering them to achieve their goals at every turn.”
This proven model of adult-focused high schools has already given thousands of people across the country a second chance to earn their diplomas and the workforce training they need to get a better job and escape poverty. There are currently Excel Centers in Indiana, Texas, Washington DC, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. Data from other Goodwill Excel Centers shows four out of 10 Excel graduates go on to pursue postsecondary education, allowing them to build lifelong careers for themselves and their families.
The mission of The Excel Center is to transform adult lives through the power of achieving a high school diploma and accessing post-secondary education and careers in growing, sustainable local industries. Classes are offered at an accelerated pace in 10-week terms. It does not matter if students have two or 20 credits left to finish, The Excel Center model is customized to fit the needs of each individual student. To learn more or enroll, please visit: https://www.excelcenteraz.org.