A special graduation day

| pdavis@queenscourier.com |

Fifteen formerly incarcerated men and women recently celebrated a huge milestone in their lives – graduating from The Fortune Society’s Education Program and receiving their General Equivalency Diploma (GED). 

“Getting a job in this economy is tough enough and for people coming out of prison it is even harder,” said JoAnne Page, CEO and President of The Fortune Society, which has been developing model programs that help formerly incarcerated men and women successfully re-enter their communities for the past 40 years.“Earning their GEDs will allow these men and women to compete in today’s already difficult job market and provide them with the skills, confidence and knowledge they need to be successful.”

The Fortune Society’s in-house school currently maintains programs in adult basic education, math, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and General Equivalency Diploma (GED) preparation. The coursework is student-centered and designed to engage students who have struggled in the public school system.

This program is designed to open doors to worlds that would not otherwise be available to Fortune clients – enabling them to become fluent in current events, fill out job applications, apply for a driver’s license, and calculate personal finances. 

In the past year, Fortune provided educational services to 325 formerly incarcerated men and women. Student outcomes have a consistently higher rate of success than the benchmarks set by the New York State Department of Education.

During the ceremony graduates were joined by family, friends and staff members as they listened to the keynote address delivered by the city’s Deputy Mayor for Education Dennis Walcott.

“Today we are celebrating the accomplishments of fifteen New Yorkers who have chosen to better themselves and their communities,” Walcott said. “Against all odds, they have chosen to take a new path in life, accept new challenges and build a life lasting partnership with the Fortune Society.  I encourage each and every one of these graduates to share their education and experiences so others can benefit from their leadership.”