TOPEKA — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly approved the creation of Accelerating Opportunity- Kansas (AO-K) on April 10, a program that would allow adults to earn high school equivalency credentials by participating in career pathway oriented postsecondary classes.

The program, which was introduced in February, will allow adults in Kansas to receive a high school diploma through a local community college while gaining valuable work experience. The program is currently offered at nine community colleges and universities throughout the state, including Washburn Institute of Technology, Johnson County Community College and Highland Community College.

In order to be eligible for the AO-K program, the student must be at least 21 years of age, have not received a high school diploma, be enrolled in an adult education program in Kansas, and declared an AO-K career pathway interest, similar to how a traditional college student declares a major. Career pathways available depend on the school, but options include agriculture, business, healthcare and construction.

The bill was sponsored by the Committee on Education and passed through the House unanimously on Feb. 27. A month later, the bill passed through the Senate with a unanimous 124-0 vote and made its way to Kelly on April 2. When Senate returns from its adjournment on May 1, the bill will officially pass.

Marissa Ventrelli is a University of Kansas junior from Chicago majoring in journalism.    

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