GED+ a Pathway to Student Success


Megan Smedley, ACTC


   For some, the first step to beginning their college education is the successful completion of the GED exam.

   The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and KY Skills U (formerly adult education) have partnered so students can co-enroll in both Skills U and short-term KCTCS classes and earn the GED and a college certificate simultaneously.

   “I’m with students every step of the way,” said Chrisha Spears, GED+ coordinator. “Our educational partners at CEOC will help students complete the ACTC admissions application, FAFSA, and Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship application. I then help with enrollment in classes and act as a liaison between you and your college and GED instructors. Students receive a lot of support and encouragement along the way.”

   Jacob Layne, a 2021 GED graduate, says he once thought earning his GED was impossible, but now he knows it’s not.

   “My life, like many others, was full ups and a lot of downs,” Layne said. “Through it all, I struggled with addiction, being incarcerated or on the verge of suicide. I wanted a change in my life. I wasn’t happy with where or who I was as a person. I got sober and got my GED.”

   Layne says he is nearly three months sober and is now enrolled in the Criminal Justice program at ACTC with plans to become a forensic investigator.

   “I want to stand up for everyone, and make sure their voices are heard, their pain is felt, and they get their justice,” he said. “I would’ve never thought of working in law enforcement, but when you have a great group of supporters in your corner, Chrisha included, you could do some unbelievable things.”

   The GED consists of four parts: reading/language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. Those interested in taking the GED can take classes to prepare them for the exam, completely free. 

   Coursework is available in-person or online, allowing flexibility to accommodate the needs of each student. Students must be at minimum 90 days past their 18th birthday and provide documentation that they are officially withdrawn from school. 

   Students enrolled in GED+ receive assistance from a College Success Coach and a Skills U College and Career Navigator. These services help students to address barriers, set S.M.A.R.T. goals, and to prepare them for success.

   Braden Spears completed his GED after homeschooling online and says he was ready to move onto college. He is a student in the Amazon Web Services program at ACTC.

   He says the GED may seem overwhelming to those who are considering taking that step, but encourages them to stay positive.

   “No matter how prepared you are, there's still a sense of uncertainty,” Braden said. “That's okay, and as long as you take the proper steps to prepare and study, you will have no trouble succeeding.”

   The Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship Program allows qualifying students to earn certificates in high demand fields of study, including healthcare, business/information technology, advanced manufacturing, transportation/logistics, and construction/trades tuition-free.

   Eligible GED+ students may also receive a $400 scholarship to be used in campus bookstores for books, supplies, etc. provided by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS)

   ACTC joined with local adult education centers/Skills U in celebrating National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week earlier this month.

   For more information about earning your GED and the Kentucky Work Ready Scholarships, email Chrisha Spears at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Young Women Lead to offer virtual event

   Young Women LEAD (YWL) Live! will be held virtually Thursday, Oct. 21 or Friday, Oct. 22 and will feature live presentations from nationally recognized women sharing insights on real life issues and pathways to successful and meaningful careers.

   Registration is free and open to girls grades 9-12 nationwide.

   ACTC has hosted YWL since 2013.

   “Many girls have never been to ACTC’s campus before. If their first experience on campus is a fun, inviting, uplifting experience, hopefully they will remember that when it comes time to enroll. While COVID-19 has changed the way that we host the conference, we still want area girls to participate in this event. ACTC wants students to succeed, and by attending events such as this, we are preparing them for success at an earlier age,” said Chrisha Spears, YWL chair.

   This year’s Young Women LEAD Live! will have appearances from Julie Carrier, a well-known coach for young women; Maryam and Nivaal Rehman, Disney filmmakers and twin activists; Monique Coleman, a singer and actress who co-starred in High School Musical and the first-ever youth champion appointed by the United Nations; and Ashley Eckstein, actress and fashion designer known for voicing the role of Ahsoka Tano in the Star Wars franchise and Founder of Her Universe.

   “YWL LEAD is Leadership, Education, and Development and we want girls to recognize their potential. We choose speakers that will understand the issues that girls today face and as well as share their own stories of adversities that they may have faced,” said Spears. “This event is for all young women to help them face challenges as well as to celebrate who they are. I wish that there was a program like this when I was in high school.”

   Every student who will be attending MUST register individually.

   Sponsored by Toyota, Duke Energy, SOAR, and Northern Kentucky University.

   To register, visit