The Department of Higher Education is looking to encourage more Ohioans to earn their high school diplomas and prepare for careers by rebranding its adult basic education program.
On April 17, the agency unveiled a new name and logo for the Adult Basic and Literacy Education program, which provides free skills courses, including English for speakers of other languages and GED prep. ABLE will now be known as Aspire and the program's new tagline is: "Learn More. Earn More."
"For me, Aspire is really about the students here today and helping you to understand we are all there with you. We're here to support you," Chancellor John Carey said during a rebranding event at Great Oaks Career Campuses in Sharonville. "We want to help you find your path; whatever's next, whether it's high school diploma and going right into the workforce, military or university or community college or adult career tech. We want to give you that opportunity."
Chancellor John Carey
"For all of us to be successful, we have to give you the opportunity to be successful," he added.
The rebranding was led by Miami University's Pi Sigma Epsilon, which is a professional marketing and sales fraternity. As part of rebranding research efforts, fraternity members who worked on the project interviewed ABLE participants in four regions of the state to determine what the program signifies to them, faculty adviser Don Norris said.
They found that participants favored a more forward-looking program brand that didn't focus as much on its basic skills aspect. "What I found was that all these participants came into these programs to enhance their lives," project manager Sam Wilkes said.
Office of Workforce Transformation Director Ryan Burgess said the state's goal is to prepare the nearly one million Ohio adults without a diploma or GED for careers in a constantly changing economy. He pointed to U.S. Census data that show the poverty rate among those who had a full-time job and worked year round in 2015, the poverty rate was 2.4%.
"What Aspire does is it helps people move into those full-time, year-round jobs," Burgess said.
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Pat Fischer was also on hand to tout the program's name change. "Education begets jobs and jobs beget dignity," he said.
Monica Posey, president of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, said she's confident the fresh moniker better describes the programs mission and the goals of those enrolled. "I believe individuals need a sense of pride and hope in what they're doing. That's why this rebranding initiative is appreciated. It helps us say to all our individuals that we care, that you're important to us, you're important to the community and we have confidence in your ability to excel," she said.