Impact Series: Goodwill’s 2Gen High Schools Lead to Increased Wages


This blog is part of Ascend’s Impact Series: monthly stories and stats that illustrate the powerful, tangible impact a two-generation (2Gen) approach can have in building prosperity and opportunity for families. 

According to the Census Bureau, 32 million adults in the U.S. currently lack a high school diploma, with those who are parents having 10 million children. The Excel Center, operated by Goodwill Industries, provides adults the opportunity and support to earn a high school diploma and postsecondary education while developing career paths that offer greater employment and career growth opportunities. Schools provide a flexible structure, drop-in child care, and supportive relationships to help students manage work, life, and family concerns as they achieve their educational goals. 

The Excel Center opened in 2010 with a single school in Indiana and has grown to include 24 schools across five states serving over 7000 students, with several additional schools on the horizon for 2019. Goodwill Industries of Central and Southern Indiana  is an Ascend Network Partner and Betsy Delgado, vice president of mission and education and superintendent of The Excel Center Network, is an Ascend Fellow. 

Goodwill recently worked with the Management Performance Hub (MPH) to analyze the employment and wage data on Excel Center students 6 months prior to enrolling at the school, 12 months after graduation, and the most recent quarter available. Data suggests that employed graduates of the Excel Center earn significantly more money than they earned before enrollment, including: 

  • 280% increase in average wages from pre-enrollment to 1-year after graduation  
  • 35% increase in average wages from 1-year after graduation to 2-years after graduation  
  • 16% increase average wages from 2-years after graduation to 3-years after graduation
From the Excel Center Economic Impact on Students report 

The Excel Center has profiled the impact of the program on students’ lives – like Jermaine Waller, who earned a high school diploma and a Pharmacy Technician Certification and secured a higher-wage position through working with Goodwill’s job placement team. “I had help with my resume and received tips on how to prepare for an interview,” Jermaine said. “I interviewed with five companies and was offered all five positions.”  

Read more impact stories here, and dig into the recent MPH data in the Excel Center Economic Impact on Students report here. 

Learn more about the  2Gen partnership, led by Ascend Fellow Betsy Delgado, between Goodwill, its  Excel Center, and Nurse-Family Partnership. Read a recent blog on three takeaways from the 2019 Excel Center National Conference here.