New facility at Camp Robinson to help recruits get GED's

A new $18 million school is on the way to Camp Robinson in North Little Rock opening the door to a military career for folks who wouldn't have had a chance otherwise.
A new $18 million school is on the way to Camp Robinson in North Little Rock opening the door to military careers for those who wouldn't have had a chance otherwise. The new building will house dorms and classrooms for the Army National Guard's GED Plus program. The Guard broke ground Sunday ensuring future recruits.

Private Megan Rhodes helped in the groundbreaking, but she wasn't just turning over a pile of earth. She was helping generations of military men and women turn over a new leaf. "I've learned a lot about myself, how disciplined I can be," she said.  Private Rhodes just finished the 12 to 21 day GED Plus program at Camp Robinson's current facilities.

The ground breaking of the new Professional Education Center will allow 500 more students at a time to do the same. Rhodes takes her GED test Monday then she can go to basic training. "I'm very confident. I know I'm going to pass," says Rhodes.

"You can tell when you talk to the young men and women in the program, they really want to be here," said Colonel Jack Frost.

Frost says the program has a 95.8 percent pass rate which he credits to strict 24 hour supervision and limited distractions. Rhodes said, "it teaches you a lot more than you would learn in a high school because you have so many people coming in and out of that classroom. But here you have a 14 or 16 student classrom with two teachers."

General George Casey came to town for the groundbreaking. He says the National Guard helped in the switch from a Cold War military to an active 21st century fighting force. "The guard has been a key part of that transformation and they have proven extremely versatile," he said.

The new facility with a 500 bed dorm, dining room, gym and classroom space will keep new recruits coming. For Private Megan Rhodes, the program equals a career and brighter future for herself and her son. "Just living the life I've always dreamed of with me and my child," she said.

The GED Plus program started in 2006. More than 5,000 soldiers have gone through it so far. But the new facility will allow 7,500 soldiers a year to attend the program, get their GED's and go to basic training.
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