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PA Deputy Secretary Visits RACC to Study the College’s Successful KEYS GED Bridge program

by Reading Area Community College

PA Deputy Secretary Visits RACC to Study the College’s Successful KEYS GED Bridge program

Reading, PA – Lisa Watson, Deputy Secretary of Human Services and Tamila Lay, Director of Bureau of Employment Programs visited Reading Area Community College on Friday, March 29th to learn more about the college’s successful KEYS GED Bridge program.

RACC’s unique KEYS GED Bridge program prepares students to take the GED, or general equivalency exam, but offers case management, financial assistance and academic support to help students navigate college.

A recent study shows community colleges using the Bridge program shows these students are 20 percent more likely to complete GED classes and exams and to enroll in higher education courses. “Some of our students have some pretty significant challenges,” says Dr. Susan Looney, RACC president. “Student stories can change every week. Having them think about a career and having that extra support really makes a difference.”

Nationally, less than five percent of those with a GED will earn a bachelor’s degree, compared with 33 percent of those with high school diplomas, according to the US Census. Studies by the National Bureau of Economic Research show that although many GED students take the exam with the intention of gaining a post-secondary diploma, about 77 percent of GED holders do not go on beyond the first semester of college.

Those behind KEYS GED Bridge are hopeful the program gives students the support they need to stick with their studies.

“We are honored to be recognized by the Department of Human Services for our success in the development and implementation of the KEYS GED Bridge Program. We are excited to have Deputy Secretary, Lisa Watson and Director of Employment and Training Programs, Tamila Lay hear about the program’s evolution and to share our student’s success stories,“ says Mary Turner, MS, RACC KEYS Program Coordinator/Student Facilitator.

The mission of the Department of Human Services is to improve the quality of life for Pennsylvania’s individuals and families. We promote opportunities for independence through services and supports while demonstrating accountability for taxpayer resources.

For more information about DHS, visit

To learn more about the RACC GED Bridge program, call 610.607.5274 or