The Excel Center - Strategic Plan for National Expansion

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STRATEGIC PLAN FOR NATIONAL EXPANSION Scaling the Impact of Goodwill’s High School for Adults

The Excel Center imagines a future where any adult without a high school diploma can access a free and excellent education that empowers them to increase their independence, attain meaningful employment and reach their full potential. 1

OUR VISION Create a national movement for adults to earn a high school diploma by expanding The Excel Center’s proven model to 85 schools in 11 states by 2030.







We believe that high-quality, innovative, diploma-granting high schools for adults can break the cycle of generational poverty. As one of the nation’s leading providers of educational and workforce-related services, the Goodwill network is uniquely positioned to bring this vision for The Excel Center to life. A high school diploma is the passport to participation in today’s labor market, but more than 32 million adults in the United States do not have this critical credential. Without it, good jobs — ones that offer complex, purposeful work alongside living wages, benefits and opportunities for advancement — are few and far between. And as the number of jobs requiring some form of education beyond high school continues to grow, people without a high school diploma are being left far behind. This lack of economic and social mobility not only impacts the individual, it also threatens the success of entire families. For children of parents without a high school diploma, the likelihood that they, too, will drop out is twice as high. In addition to an enormous loss of human potential, the annual costs associated with childhood poverty in the United States amounts to $500 billion — or four percent of GDP, according to the National Poverty Center.

32M ADULTS in the U.S. without a high school diploma



more likely that a child will drop out of high school if their parents did not graduate

The Excel Center exists to break the cycle of generational poverty. Every graduate creates a ripple effect that improves the well-being of their families, children and communities. By providing adults with a free, high-quality high school diploma, the opportunity to access postsecondary credentials, and wraparound support services, The Excel Center eliminates barriers to education, employment and self-sufficiency. In just ten years, we’ve grown from a single school in Indianapolis, Indiana, to 31 campuses operating in five states and the District of Columbia. Our National Office is operated by Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana, and locations across the country are operated by local Goodwill organizations.


Rigorous academics. Supportive relationships. A fierce commitment to equity and inclusion. That’s how we Excel. The Excel Center’s success in serving a historically underserved population is predicated on our commitment to “meeting students where they are” in their education.


Our commitment includes:


2. 3. 4. 5.

Removing all barriers


that stand in the way of students completing their education (i.e., reliable and affordable transportation, on-site child care, food insecurity).

Providing life coaches


from high school every year in the U.S.


that help students build confidence and persist in their education.

Awarding a state-recognized, high-quality high school diploma –


the same credential that a traditional-aged student would receive in high school.

Supporting transitions to college and career :

by offering college-level and industry-recognized credentialing course prior to graduation and connecting students to high-growth industries and postsecondary education to advance their careers.

Ensuring continuous improvement


of systems, practices and processes for student success and operational excellence.

2 OUT OF 3 ADULTS without a high school diploma are low income


America needs the skills and talents of all our people. It’s time to unleash the potential of the 32 million adults without a high school diploma. Given The Excel Center’s demonstrated success in five states and Washington, D.C., and the urgency around increased access to diploma-granting high schools for adults, there has been significant interest in opening Excel Center campuses across the country. The Excel Center National Office has created a plan to meet the needs of adults in America to earn high school diplomas by expanding our proven school model nationwide.

OUR CORE STRATEGIES Communication & Advocacy

To amplify and multiply our impact outside the walls of Excel Center schools, we will create a national conversation about the importance of adult high school diploma attainment. As part of this movement, we will inspire advocates to implement policy and systems change efforts that enable millions of adults to attain a quality high school diploma and industry-recognized credentials.

School Development Support

To ensure the financial feasibility of expansion, we will leverage a variety of sources — including federal, philanthropic and entitlement dollars — with the goal of raising funds to support the opening of Excel Centers in new Goodwill territories and the hiring of school leaders at least one year prior to a school opening.

Evaluation & Continuous Improvement As The Excel Center network continues to grow, it will be critical to create and maintain national data that defines key internal metrics and informs decisionmaking for local school leaders. We will also engage national partners to create a tool that will ensure schools are implementing The Excel Center model with fidelity across the network. We will commission studies of Excel Center schools to effectively monitor and track ROI.

National Partnerships for Continued Education & Employment

We prioritize strong local level relationships in the communities in which Excel Center locations operate so that students have exposure to their chosen career pathway and have the resources needed to be successful in and out of school. We will also forge partnerships with national employers, credentialing organizations and higher education to unlock more educational and employment opportunities for Excel Center students enrolled nationwide.

Professional & Leadership Development

We will increase collaboration across The Excel Center network by creating a virtual hub for knowledgesharing, organizing an annual national conference and offering quarterly positional huddles where school leaders can learn from their peers across the country. To strengthen the skills of promising school leaders and local Goodwill executives, we will offer inresidence opportunities at The Excel Center and sponsor participation in distinguished national leadership programs.

Technical Assistance & School Engagement

We will increase the level of support offered to new and existing Excel Center schools through expanded and enhanced technical assistance offerings. We will also develop new processes to ensure the continued engagement of network schools in our national expansion efforts.


Investing in Americans without a high school diploma has the potential to transform our workforce, economy and society — now and for generations to come. Implementing these strategies and meeting our ambitious goal of operating 85 Excel Center campuses in 11 states and the District of Columbia by 2030 will require an investment of $20 million. The Excel Center is committed to building on our success and expanding our one-of-a-kind model so that many more Americans can benefit. We believe this Strategic Plan creates a challenging, yet achievable framework to grow and sustain our network and advance our mission.

The Excel Center welcomes the opportunity to explore ways to further leverage our resources with others in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.




$20M $7M

An adult without a high school diploma will


over their lifetime than their graduated peers

Travel expenses for visits to prospective Goodwills and national partners Start-up money for new Excel Centers in new Goodwill territories, including financial support of leadership development Growth of National Office service offerings

M $1 $3M

$1 M

Miscellaneous (i.e., contract services) Tools to increase collaboration and knowledge sharing across the network

Investment in technology and data infrastructure

The need is urgent, and the potential is vast. It's time to realize our vision and help millions of Americans access the education they need to increase their independence, attain meaningful employment and reach their full potential. It's time to Excel. 081220


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