Indianapolis, Indiana – According to The Excel Center, a school dedicated to adult education, a significant 80% of incarcerated individuals lack a high school diploma.
Established in 2010, The Excel Center, under the auspices of Goodwill, has steadfastly aided adults without high school diplomas in securing one. Kent Kramer, the President and CEO of Goodwill for Central and Southern Indiana, highlighted, “In the state of Indiana there is right around 460,000 working age adults that don’t have a high school diploma.” The absence of this foundational educational qualification often poses challenges in procuring employment.
Since its inception, over 8,000 adults have availed the institution’s complimentary courses. Currently, The Excel Center is directing its attention towards a specific demographic – those who have previously been incarcerated.
Jeremiah Bowden, a student at The Excel Center, conveyed, “I feel welcome,” referencing his facial tattoos. He added, “I have a good support system here.” Bowden’s narrative is marked by periods of incarceration from the age of twelve to eighteen. Following his release, he grappled with personal losses, substance misuse, and homelessness. With the aid of a Salvation Army program, Bowden achieved sobriety. He is now in pursuit of his high school diploma, aspiring to further his studies in college, specifically to assist individuals who have shared his experiences. He stated, “I’m already in the field of addictions so that’s where I want to keep it, just trying to save life.”
Bowden’s transformative journey, facilitated by The Excel Center, is emblematic of the positive change the institution aims to achieve, particularly with their newest facility. Kramer added, “As people exit correctional facilities, we aim to collaborate with them at The Excel Center, offering avenues for advancing their education.”
Bowden remains hopeful that by sharing his narrative, others in analogous circumstances might be inspired to enhance their own lives. He remarked, “Don’t be scared to take that next step in life,” adding, “They say don’t leave before the miracle happens, be the miracle.”
The latest Excel Center, tailored for formerly incarcerated individuals, is situated proximate to the Marion County Criminal Justice Center. Further details regarding enrollment in The Excel Center’s complimentary programming are available upon inquiry.