NJSL Literacy Innovations Grant

Department of Labor Literacy Initiative

Please note that this program has now ended. If we are successful in obtaining funding to extend the program into the future, we will restart the program.

About the DOL initiative:

The New Jersey State Library has been selected to receive a Literacy Innovations grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. In September 2014, New Jersey State Library will launch a Literacy Innovations pilot project which will give a limited number of public libraries the opportunity to offer a high school completion program to their communities through Career Online High School. The State Library is launching this groundbreaking program to help address New Jersey’s high school dropout crisis. The public libraries selected this year will serve as models for this pilot project.
We know that, if interested, you will need time to discuss this potential grant application with your staff, trustee boards, etc. We are sharing some basic information now that may help you decide if you would like to apply.

What is it?

Career Online High School offers students the opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma while learning real-world career skills. This is a product offered through Gale Cengage Learning. Part of the world’s first accredited, private online school district, Career Online High School is specifically designed to reengage adults into the education system and prepare them for entry into post-secondary education or the workforce. Note – this is NOT a GED program. Successful graduates will earn a high school diploma and a career certification through an accredited high school.
Through a competitive process, New Jersey public libraries will be selected to host this program for members of their local communities. This represents the first effort in New Jersey to offer high school diplomas through public libraries and the first such state level endeavor in the nation. This program builds upon a rich history of literacy efforts in libraries including services to new Americans, ESL, and citizenship education, and is the latest step in the transformation of public libraries in the digital age as they move to establish themselves beyond just being a repository of books to a full-fledged community resource.
Through the NJSL Literacy Innovations Program an individual will be able to earn a high school diploma completely online through a career-focused process. Learning and literacy will be accessible to students in a non-traditional, online environment, allowing them to take classes remotely or at their local public library. Adult students will have the ability to select a career pathway and gain career skills in high-demand job disciplines. Upon completion of the program, these students will be able to combine literacy skills with occupational skills.

For more detailed information: http://www.careeronlinehs.gale.com/

Los Angeles Public Library has already launched this program and it has been very successful. For more information: http://www.lapl.org/cohs

Why should our library apply to have this program?

This is an opportunity for your library to showcase its importance to your community by offering a solution to a critical challenge. The dropout crisis in the United States has reached epidemic proportions in recent years. Every 26 seconds another student gives up on school. Today, there are nearly 40 million Americans without a high school diploma and there are limited options available for adults looking to return to high school. People lacking a high school diploma are more likely to be unemployed, impoverished, and incarcerated-and are estimated to cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in lost earnings, welfare and medical costs. According to American Community Survey 2009-2011, U.S. Census Bureau, New Jersey, has over 1,000,000 adults or 12 percent of residents lacking a high school diploma.

What are the expectations?

NJSL will fund the entire cost of the scholarships available through Career Online High School.
NJSL will help subsidize the cost of a graduation ceremony to be held in your library.
NJSL will give selected libraries a limited number of laptop computers to be used by program participants.
NJSL and Gale Cengage Learning will help with student recruitment and the provision of marketing materials, but the library will be responsible for developing a local outreach plan.
The most critical component for the success of the project is the library’s willingness to appoint a staff member to administer the program. This person will be responsible for helping to recruit potential students, engaging with the students and monitoring the students’ progress.
But don’t panic! The students will be assigned an academic coach by Career Online High School. The library staff member is not responsible for academic assessments or performance evaluation. The library staff member’s chief role is to recruit and encourage participants and monitor their progress.

How should our library prepare to apply?

NJSL will have a limited number of Career Online High School scholarships available, so this will be an extremely competitive process. Two things that will be significant in your application will be a demonstration of your community’s need for these scholarships and a commitment on the part of your library to appoint a staff member to administer the program.
Once again the New Jersey State Library is delighted to partner with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and Gale Cengage Learning in offering this beneficial program to communities through their libraries.


For more information, please contact Peggy Cadigan, pcadigan@www.njstatelib.org, 609-278-2640, x113.