Excel Center

The Excel Center has been approved to begin classes in Memphis in Fall 2015. We will be working hard to get ready for our first group of 300-350 students in August 2015. Please check this website for ongoing updates and information about classes, applications process, etc. The application process for students is expected to begin in January 2015. Thank you!

The Excel Center: A successful model

The Excel Center will offer hope to thousands of Memphis area students who have dropped out of high school, but want the chance to return to school and earn their high school diplomas. This free charter school for adults focuses on helping students graduate and plan ahead for a better future. Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana opened the first Excel Center in 2010 with 300 students; now, there are nine campuses with 3,000 students and 859 graduates. Due to its outstanding record of success, Memphis Goodwill is making plans to open Excel Centers in Memphis. Our business is changing lives, and the Excel Center will create exciting opportunities for the people in our communities. To learn more about The Excel Centers in Central Indiana visit http://www.excelcenter.org/.

  • Adult charter school is free to students
  • Students complete requirements to  earn high school diploma
  • Every student has a life coach
  • On-site child care is provided
  • Programs focus on earning credits and planning for post-secondary study or job training
  • Planning for long-term job opportunities

Watch the videos below to learn more or click here to download an Excel Center overview.

Building Success for the Students

  • The Excel Center is designed to fit the life situations of adults, and is open morning, afternoon, and evenings year-round.
  • Students must meet all state academic requirements, but learning plans are individualized with aim to prepare student for “what comes next.”
  • Most students begin work toward a post-secondary credential in a field with greater than average growth potential and career opportunities.  In Indiana, the primary fields are logistics, health-related careers, and entry level IT careers.
  • Terms last eight weeks, and many classes integrate material from multiple disciplines to enable students to earn multiple credits from one course.  Some courses are available online, and one-on-one tutoring is available any time the school is open.
  • Each student has a “coach” who monitors academic progress and helps address barriers that might limit education attainment.
  • Free child care is available while students are in class. Other barrier factors addressed (transportation, employment/schooling balance)
  • State funding is based on enrollment and is sufficient to cover day-to-day operations.

The Context

  • 15.2% of adults in the U. S. lack a high school diploma.  In 2011, the unemployment rate for high school dropouts was 14.1%, compared with 9.4% for high school graduates.  Since the early 1970s, the share of jobs for high school dropouts has plunged from about 33% to 11%.  As a result, high school dropouts struggle to maintain employment and are more likely to live in unstable families, to receive public assistance, and to be incarcerated.
  • On average, compared with high school graduates, each dropout costs the U.S. economy $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes, and productivity over his/her lifetime.
  • Future outcomes (e.g. annual income, unemployment rate) of GED recipients are no better than for high school dropouts.  Median earnings of a high school graduate are 41% higher than for a dropout.  Adding an industry-recognized certificate to a high school diploma will boost average earnings an additional 27%.

Memphis Need

  • 28% poverty rate in Memphis
  • 40% of those in poverty are “working poor”
  • 20% of 16-24-year-olds are not in school or working
  • Only 69% of Memphis students have graduated in last five years
  • 7,200 high school drop-outs each year

Excel Center overview sheet_Page_2

Memphis Timeline:

  • November 2013: Vision Setting Meeting with Community Leaders
  • Now through February: Charter application in process
  • February 2014: Letter of Intent for application filed with Shelby County
  • April 2014: Charter school application submitted to Shelby County
  • July 2014: Notice of application ruling received
  • August 2014 – August 2015: President & CEO, School Administrator & staff hired
  • August 2015: First class of students accepted and begin studies. (Temporary campus location (TBD) will be used in first year.)
  • August 2017: Projected opening of Crosstown complex; Excel Center moves to new location.


Check out Memphis Goodwill CEO & President Tony Martini and Sr. Director of Community Services Beth Erb on The Pulse, a public affairs radio show, discussing Goodwill’s Excel Center.  You can listen below:

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