Everyone deserves a second chance. We’ve all had one at some time in our lives. Second chances, especially when it comes to education, can be that opportunity to become self-reliant, productive members of our communities instead of simply becoming a drain on welfare programs, and social services and the criminal justice system.

More than 1.2 million Floridians lack a high school diploma or struggle daily with low literacy skills. Adults who choose to go back to school to earn their GED or better their literacy skills are not dumb, lazy or bad people. Many become adult students because of life circumstances beyond their control (having cerebral palsy for example), a learning disability  or a choice that had to be made in order to care for their family. Adult students cannot be lumped into a group and referred to as “they had their chance.” They need that second chance to become everything they dreamed of for themselves, their family and their community.

This second chance is done through Adult and Community Education. More than 300,000 adult students are enrolled in Adult Education programs throughout Florida. These are adults who will contribute to Florida’s economy. Business leaders recognize the need for an educated workforce. It is economic folly to deny these adult learners a second chance at improving their education. It is well established that the more someone learns, the greater their economic opportunity. The result is a better employee — and a worker, with a higher paycheck, who can purchase goods and services.

ACE of Florida is helping to create skilled workers who will boost the economy and Florida’s tax base.