June 15, 2016

“Detroit Collective Impact” is a collaboration with McDonald’s, Michigan Virtual University, Matrix Human Services, and Kinexus

Atlanta, GA, June 13, 2016 — Cengage Learning’s Career Online High School (COHS) was recognized today at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative America meeting for its Commitment to Action to bring together business, social services and higher education to increase access to education and workforce training in Detroit. The commitment was recognized onstage by President Clinton.

Cengage Learning’s Detroit Collective Impact, a collaboration with McDonald’s, Michigan Virtual University, Matrix Human Services, and Kinexus, is designed to support the city’s recovery from bankruptcy by re-engaging adults with their education. The program provides access to a career credential and accredited high school diploma via COHS. The online high school is accredited by AdvancED/SACS/NCA/NWAC, the accreditor for thousands of schools and districts across the country. Approximately 23 percent of Detroit residents age 25 and over do not have a high school diploma.

“We are truly honored that President Clinton and the CGI America team have recognized our efforts to bring life-changing education opportunities to Detroit residents,” said Ron Stefanski, Executive Director of Strategic Alliances, Cengage Learning and a Detroit resident. “This program and others around the country are a testament to the positive impact education can have on an individual and a community. We hope to inspire even more creative public-private collaborations that will open access to workforce training programs for people in need.”

Dr. Howard Liebman, Superintendent of Schools for the COHS school district, also attended the event, where he was invited to lead a table discussion on Workforce Development Strategies for Re-Entry Population. “It was an honor to have our COHS program featured, and to be asked to lead a discussion on how educational programs like COHS can benefit the correctional population and help keep people from returning to prison.”

The COHS program typically takes 12-18 months to complete. The Detroit Collective Impact program launched last year with 20 students and recently graduated its first student, who received her entry-level workforce certificate and high school diploma. The goal is to graduate 1,350 disconnected older youth and adults.

Partners in the Detroit Collective Impact program include:

  • Matrix Human Services, a Detroit-based nonprofit, social service organization that has been serving the community for 109 years to fight generational poverty.
  • Michigan Virtual University (MVU), one of the largest and leading nationally recognized supplemental virtual school programs in the country.
  • McDonald’s Corporation, which offers COHS to all eligible employees in corporate and franchise-owned restaurants. Detroit franchisee Errol Service is recruiting participants from among the 1,200 Detroit-area associates who qualify.
  • Kinexus, a Michigan non-profit dedicated to creating economic vitality by connecting business, workforce, and the community.

COHS was created in 2012 by Cengage Learning and Smart Horizons Career Online Education to provide affordable, career-based online education opportunities for the millions of adults in the United States without high school diplomas. In 2014, the program was adapted for the public library space by Gale, a division of Cengage Learning.

Cengage Learning and Smart Horizons also work with several partners to support commitments through the Clinton Global Initiative. Collectively, the program has reached over 11,000 adults.

For more information on the Detroit Collective Impact, please visit: https://www.clintonfoundation.org/clinton-global-initiative/commitments/detroit-collective-impact-pathway-education-work

To learn more about the COHS program and partnership opportunities, please visit: http://www.careeronlinehs.org/.

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