By Kevin Turner
When Winn-Dixie associate Courtney Lundin heard all Southeastern Grocers associates are eligible to earn their GED credential for free through the GEDWorks program, she knew right away she wanted to participate.
“I was already thinking I wanted to go back to school,” said Lundin, who works at store No. 586 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
After testing was complete, she finished with honors, in three out of four subjects, an accomplishment considered to be at a level equivalent to the top 15 percent of graduating high school seniors. Her next step? She wants to begin college as soon as possible and work toward a degree that she plans to apply in her career at Winn-Dixie.
“I’m going for business. I’d like to stay here. I want to advance my career,” she said.
Southeastern Grocers is one of the first companies to offer this Educational Assistance Program, a new benefit created in partnership with GED Testing Service, to employees who would like to receive a high school equivalency credential. GED Testing Service reported that test standards are based on the academic abilities of the top half of high school graduates and that the program's pace is customized to the pace of the individual. Participants are given unlimited access as long as they put in at least six hours per week.
Time wasn’t an issue for Lundin, who has been with Winn-Dixie for four years. She was able to complete the program and get her GED credential in three weeks despite the fact that it’s been 14 years since she was in high school. She explained she was able to do that because during screening tests, it was found that she already had enough knowledge of social studies, language arts and science to pass those areas. So she had one area where she would need to apply extra focus before the test: math.
Thanks to Khan Academy, through which she was able to polish up math fundamentals very quickly, online and for free, Lundin was ready for her tests in short order. She said her support from the Educational Assistance Program also was a big help.
“My adviser was very encouraging,” she said. “She was awesome; super easy to talk to.”
When it came time for testing, she completed all with honors and was only a couple of points away from honors in math. But she said she is very skilled in finance, and that’s where she would like to advance her career. And as a service lead, she already has a solid foundation of experience on which to build.Lundin was the first SEG graduate of this program, and Associate Kelly Yasterzemski soon followed, earning her credential Nov. 10. For more information about the Education Assistance Program for the GED Test offered by Southeastern Grocers, go to my.segrocers.com. Please email questions about the program to email@example.com.