Sacramento Public Library supports adults in earning their accredited high school diploma for free through Career Online High School (COHS)
. Since 2014, the library has helped more than 200 graduates prepare to enter the workforce with improved employment opportunities by providing free access to this program through a partnership with California State Library and Smart Horizons. More than 80% of graduates continue on to higher education.
In 2019, La Keishia Whitmore earned her accredited high school diploma with a focus in Customer Service through the library’s free Career Online High School (COHS) program.
“[Career Online High School] was one of the best experiences of my life and I learned so many valuable lessons,” she said. “I can guarantee that is the best thing you can do for yourself.”
La Keishia, who turns 50 this year, is currently working on her communications degree at Sacramento City College. She’s the first in her family to attend college.
Her path to earning her high school diploma was not easy. She had tried several other times with various programs. Then she learned about the library’s program from a poster she saw while riding the bus on her daily commute. She was unsure of how successful she’d be with an online program studying on her own at home, but took a chance.
“I didn’t pick up [new material] as well and others. It’s different in a classroom setting than at home. The time difference made it more challenging,” she said. “Kristen [my academic coach] was amazing. She was patient and understanding and encouraging. She kept me level-headed and focused and didn’t let me lose sight of my goal.”
La Keishia also faced personal obstacles. She weathered health issues throughout the whole program and there were periods when she was put on bedrest. She also lost her father during that time. But she persevered.
About Career Online High School
Through a partnership with Smart Horizons and California State Library, Sacramento Public Library offers a nationally accredited high school program, which includes a 24/7 online classroom, personal academic coaches, and real-world career training. The library grants scholarships to COHS to make this program free for adult students as part of its adult education services. COHS students can earn their diploma for free with nine career path options including Child Care and Education, Food and Hospitality, Home Care Professional, Office Management, Security Professional, Commercial Driving and more. Students receive ongoing support from an academic coach assigned to them, provided by Smart Horizons.
“Not having a high school diploma kept me back. Being a single parent, I knew I had to be a role model for my son. There were times when I couldn’t help my son with his homework. I felt like I failed,” she said. “Now there are tons of opportunities opening up for me and I couldn’t be more excited.”