Program gives staff members the EDGE

The President's Employee Directed General Education (EDGE) program honored its volunteers, donors and participants April 24 – and celebrated an important milestone.

The program allows employees to study for their GED and improve basic academic and literary skills while working at the university. Craig Stone, who works as at Tech II in the Facilities department, is the first participant to take and pass his GED.

Though it started with a focus on helping employees earn their GED, the program has expanded to serve employees in other important ways. The program's tutors offer assistance on:

  • Improving literacy and reading skills
  • Improving basic computer skills
  • Improving academic skills for the GED or in preparation for college coursework
  • Improving language skills for English language learners

The President's EDGE began in September 2011 and supports one the university's four bold goals, specifically goal 3 - to be a national leader in employee relations. The program has worked with 55 staff members so far, and six are expected to take the GED before the end of this year.

President V. Lane RawlinsPresident V. Lane Rawlins, right, who was at the April 24 event, and his cabinet created the initiative. He said the students and tutors have put in a deep commitment because it can take two to three years of instruction to prepare students to take the GED.

To prepare for his GED, Stone, who dropped out of school in the eighth grade, attended a 90-minute class Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and Fridays after work, plus completed homework.

Now that he's passed his GED, Stone plans to take a few classes at North Central Texas College before enrolling at UNT.

During this speech, he talked about the support he received from his peers, management and the UNT community. He was especially grateful to those who run the EDGE program.

"Being one of the first students, I got to see an ordinary small office transformed into a multi-zone class room," he said. "This program means a lot to me and has already opened many doors, such as attending college classes and the possibility to advance in my job."

Another student, Luz Suarez, who works in custodial services, completed 12 years of school in her native Colombia, but her education does not transfer to the United States. She is working on her GED so she can attend college. She said she especially appreciated having volunteer staff members sit with the students and review test materials.

"The President's EDGE Program has been a great learning experience for me," she said at the reception. "I have been exposed to material that I had not seen for many years, and I learned techniques to improve my English. We have flexible schedules and classes are free. I know the education is the key to our self-assurance, removing obstacles and opening opportunities." 

During the event, the program received a $1,000 donation from Rawlins and a $2,000 contribution from the College of Education Excellence Fund, given by the college's dean Jerry Thomas, to cover textbooks for any participants who earn their GED and then enroll at UNT for classes.

The President's EDGE is accepting donations of gently used books and magazines that are highly engaging for adult participants.

Faculty and staff can also make donations from the annual faculty and staff giving program, We Care We Count, to support the program.

-Jessica DeLeón, University Relations, Communications and Marketing

President's EDGE program

(Top row, from left to right: Board members Connie Havis, Lisbeth Krauss, Sharon Turner, student teachers Consuela Evelyn Lopez, Michelle McKay, Oscar Amaya, Kevin Burgess, board member Brian Stewart, College of Education Dean Jerry R. Thomas, board member Jeffrey Rose and President's Edge Director Carol Revelle. Bottom row, from left to right: President V. Lane Rawlins and participants Luz Suarez and Craig Stone. Photographs by Jonathan Reynolds/URCM.)

President's EDGE programLearn more about EDGE.