Program urged for 18- to 24-year-olds sans diplomas |

Program urged for 18- to 24-year-olds sans diplomas

Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

Nevada is second in the nation in the number of people between 18 and 24 years old without a high-school diploma or equivalent, the Board of Examiners was told Tuesday.

A group of volunteers headed by Superintendent of Education Jack McLaughlin and former Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa told the board they have developed a five-year plan to try fix that by bringing educators, businessmen, the university system, labor groups and state agencies together.

Project director Vicki Newell said there are 59,000 young adults without a high-school diploma or GED. She said the goal of the “18-24 Year Old Credential Initiative” is to provide programs that will allow those young adults to complete their high school and either start getting college credits or technical skills enabling them to develop careers.

The plan calls for paid incentives for workers to complete adult education programs, sponsoring on-site classes, in-kind contributions, giving workers paid time or alternative work schedules to help them attend classes and encouraging educated workers to become mentors or teachers in adult education programs.

“It’s such a huge, huge issue for us to face,” said Gov. Kenny Guinn who chairs the board. “And it doesn’t get any better if you just neglect it.”

Guinn, a former teacher and one-time Clark County schools superintendent, helped organize the “18-24 Year Old Credential Initiative.”

Del Papa called for “a full-court press to our congressional delegation on a bipartisan basis” to help get some funding for the plan.

She said the goal of the plan is to increase the number of those getting their high school credentials by 10 percent each year for the next five years.