GAIN Director Steve Yamarone, Priscilla Navarro, with 2-year-old son Johnny, and Superintendent Debra DuardoMore than 130 GAIN participants were honored for earning their high school equivalency at a recent recognition ceremony at the LACOE Conference Center in Downey.

“This event celebrates the life-changing accomplishments of our graduates,” said Steve Yamarone, director of the Greater Avenues for Independence Program.

With funding from the Department of Public Social Services, the LACOE GAIN Division has partnered with educational agencies to provide GED, HiSet and High School diploma recovery services at 12 LACOE GAIN Job Clubs around the county.

The graduates got a job or entered short term training programs. Some of them are now enrolled in Cerritos College, Glendale College, Antelope Valley College, Mission College, East Los Angeles College and West Los Angeles College.

In her remarks, Superintendent Debra Duardo encouraged the graduates to continue to persevere, saying that “no matter where you started off in life or what your circumstances were, that does not define who you are or where you can go.”

“And please don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not capable, that you’re not college material, that you can’t do this, because you can do anything you choose to do,” said Duardo, a high school dropout who was able to overcome obstacles and rise to the position of county superintendent of schools.

She shared her own story of dropping out of school and coming back to earn an equivalency certificate and, eventually, graduate degrees.

The June 27 event also recognized the DPSS GAIN Service Workers who guided program participants and supported them throughout the process.

Program partners include the DPSS, the Margett Pathway Academy of East San Gabriel Valley ROP, ABC Unified Adult School, LAUSD Adult School, East Los Angeles College, Pasadena City College and Golden Oak Adult School, a division of William S. Hart Union High School District.

The GAIN program helps communities in the Los Angeles area build economic self-sufficiency through gainful employment. GAIN is part of a large-scale welfare-to-work program. Each year, GAIN provides job-readiness and career planning services to 50,000 participants at 21 job club sites around the county. Learn more here.

For more information on HiSET and GED testing click here. For more information on California's requirements for the alternative high school diploma click here.


From left: GAIN Director Steve Yamarone, Priscilla Navarro, with 2-year-old son Johnny, and Superintendent Debra Duardo. 

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