Career Online High School is new to McHenry and offered through information database provider Gale, part of Cengage Learning. Reaching Across Illinois Library System is working to make the program available to a number of public libraries across the state, and McHenry Public Library is of the relative few offering current enrollment through a scholarship program.
The program allows people to earn their degrees and obtain a certificate in a variety of different career paths such as certified transportation services, homeland security, child care and education, office management and a handful of others.
The coursework is based online, but the application process can be rigorous and includes interviews and placement tests. Applicants must be older than 21 and residents in the McHenry Library District.
Still, the demand has been high, said Kathy Lambert, the library’s public relations manager.
“We are very surprised,” she said. “We haven’t really promoted it that far outside the library, so it obviously shows there is a need in this area. It is important for us that people can learn and better themselves.”
The Library bought five scholarship packages for $6,500. Program participants must complete their studies in 18 months, but because previous high school credits may transfer, many people won’t take that long, officials said.
The library already is making plans to budget for more scholarships, said Bill Edminster, assistant director of the library.
“Libraries change lives, and this seems like the perfect way to do it,” he said. “Libraries have been involved in adult education for a long time. We provide resources for people trying to advance their education and careers on a daily basis.”