Fresno mayor kicks off new Learn-2-Earn program

FRESNO, Calif.

68-thousand people in the city of Fresno alone lack a high school diploma.

Mayor Swearengin launched the bold and ambitious six-month initiative Monday morning.

The Learn-2-Earn program targets adults who are unemployed or lack basic education and job training needed to be successful in life.

"Education is possible. It's for you. It's easier than you think," Mayor Swearengin said.

A national survey shows more than 27-percent of Fresno County residents do not have a high school diploma. That beats the national average by double digits.

Swearengin's vision is already receiving high praise from the U.S. Department of Education

"I wasn't surprised when the mayor talked about the fact that they are many jobs that are going unfilled today in Fresno. That's happening all across the county. And that's why this initiative is so important," Dr. Brenda Danna-Messier said.

People who have either dropped out of high school or college can get a fresh start at the Cesar Chavez Adult Education Center in downtown Fresno.

Here they learn the basic skill set asked of them in the real world but yet they often times lack the requirements to land a quality job.

For instance, Toccara Fuller is in the LVN program to become a nurse. She came into this six years ago as an office assistant.

"The program's been very inspirational to us. It's something that a lot of us we wanted to do. We've changed careers and this is what we want to do. So now that we're here we're just taking it a day at a time and soaking it all in," Fuller said.

Graduates from Cesar Chavez also shared success stories to help motivate students. At the end of the day the goal is to take this aggressive first time initiative and turn it into the standard for second chances, because sometimes in life you never get a third.

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