With most job applications, college and training classes and paperwork being switched to online formats, it’s more important than ever to be computer literate.  Soon, the GED test will become computer-based.

Beginning in 2014, the General Educational Development (GED) tests in Delaware done via computer in order to keep up with the demand for technically trained workers.

According to Maureen Whalen, director of Adult and Prison Resources for the Department of Education, that’s not the only change being made.

"It’s going to have different types of questions, it’s going to require higher thinking skills, and it's going to have different content, because it"s going to be based on core curriculum standards and also the kinds of skills that you need to get into colleges these days and into training academies," said Whalen.

Price hike

The cost will also increase from $75 to $120. However, GED prep classes will remain free to students.

The city of Wilmington and the Walnut Street YMCA, along with the state Department of Education and the Christina School District, are urging anyone interested in taking the GED to do so now and take advantage of the reduced cost.

The need

Wilmington City Councilman Darius Brown (D-District 3) says one in three residents in his district over the age of 25 do not possess a high school diploma or GED.

Most basic minimum wage jobs require at least a high school diploma or GED education.

"That really limits them in their career trajectory," Brown said. "Not just having entry level employment, but also gainful employment in providing for themselves and their families."

Brown added that through GED awareness, he hopes residents will make it a personal goal to complete the test.

"For many residents, it's something they continue to put off for a certain amount of time," he said. "So, we’re trying to encourage them now, don’t put it off any longer. Come on in, enroll in the program. Complete the program, and continue to provide for yourself and your family."

Whalen explained that most students who seek their GED are in the mid-20s age range and have completed up the tenth grade.

Increased interest

With jobs being harder to come by, more dropouts are realizing the importance of an education and GED programs have seen a spike in interested students.

"At my offices, our phones ring off the hook with people asking when they can get into a program," said Daphne Matthews, administrator for Christina School District Adult Education Program. "[They’re] asking what do I have to fill out, and realizing it was an unwise decision to drop out. Or they had a job and didn’t tell the truth on their application. Now, employers check to see if there is documentation of a high school diploma. So, people come back to get it clandestinely."

Brown added that educated residents build stronger neighborhoods, and one of his objects in the third district is creating "learning neighborhoods."

"One of the components of a learning neighborhood is GED completion and career readiness," said Brown. "So there is a gap between our traditional high school student and younger professionals at the 25-year age range. There is a gap about eight years for individuals that I see in my district that are not employed, that may have graduated from high school and some have not, and unfortunately, have nothing to do.”

For additional information and requirements for obtaining a GED contact the Christiana School District’s Adult Education Department at (302) 454-2101 or the New Castle County Vo-Tech Adult Education Department at (302) 683-3642.