Incentive Program Provides $500 to South Carolinians Who Earn a Secondary Diploma and an Additional $500 for Training

A variety of dollar bills on top of each other.

The General Education Development (GED) Incentive Program began as a partnership between the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) and the S.C. Department of Education’s (SCDE) Office of Adult Education, through which Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants could earn their GED for free through their local Adult Education center and receive a one-time $500 incentive payment from the General Assembly upon passing the GED exam.

Originally offered only to individuals receiving UI benefits as a growth opportunity during the pandemic, the program was expanded last year to provide $500 to anyone in South Carolina who earns their GED.

In addition, the program has expanded to provide an additional $500 to individuals who complete short-term occupational training through the S.C. Technical College system.

Aside from potentially receiving up to $1,000 for successfully completing the GED exam and occupational training, perhaps the greatest motivator for South Carolinians to complete their secondary education and upskill themselves is to open doors to the possibilities of higher-paying jobs, sustainable wages, and professional growth opportunities.

“The seamless collaboration between DEW, SCDE Adult Education, and the Technical College System to offer this life-changing program is a testament to the care and passion each has for the populations they serve,” stated DEW Executive Director William Floyd. “Thanks to the GED Incentive Program, eligible South Carolinians can broaden their professional opportunities as part of DEW’s continued workforce development efforts, which prepare a skilled and growing workforce for rewarding careers with current and future employers in the state.”

“This partnership confirms the commitment of all three agencies to serve South Carolinians seeking to invest in themselves and respond to the ever-evolving needs of a modern employment landscape,” said State Superintendent Ellen Weaver. “This expansion of the GED Incentive Program showcases the transformative power of an accessible education in South Carolina. The SCDE’s Office of Adult Education is eager to highlight the many ways we are here for the educational needs of every South Carolinian.”

“To lead students to success in the modern job market, the Technical College System continually looks to participate in programs such as this one to connect learners with new or expanded education and training opportunities that will serve them well throughout their careers,” said South Carolina Technical College System President, Dr. Tim Hardee.

To be eligible for incentive payments, an individual must be a South Carolina resident, at least 19 years old, and not currently hold a GED or High School Diploma from any state. They must also have started a secondary credential program (GED or high school diploma) during the 2023-2024 school year, and earn a credential by June 1, 2024, through the SCDE’s Adult Education program and qualifying technical colleges in the Technical College System. Funding for this program is limited and incentive payments will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

There is no better time for South Carolinians seeking to earn a GED and short-term occupational training credential. South Carolina’s GED Incentive Program provides participants with up to 1,000 reasons to start today.

To learn more about the GED Incentive program, visit https://ed.sc.gov/newsroom/ged-incentive-program/.