ACM Partners with Catholic Charities to Deliver Online GED

Kristin Kehrwald 301-784-5152


student graduate

Local individuals were able to enroll in a new E-Learning GED course to prepare them to take their GED test or qualify for admission to the National External Diploma Program.



CUMBERLAND, Md. (July 22, 2021) – Sometimes help comes from a surprising source. For Melanie Chapman, the director of Allegany College of Maryland’s Adult Basic Education program in downtown Cumberland, that source was a problem-solving grad student named Katherine Lynch. 

While pursuing her master’s in counseling psychology at Frostburg State University, Lynch was counseling clients virtually through her internship at Villa Maria Mountain Maryland, a program of Catholic Charities of Baltimore. Several of her clients expressed interest in earning their GED but were unable to attend in-person classes due to caring for young children or other commitments. After a quick Google search in January, she found ACM’s program and emailed Chapman to ask about a fully online GED prep course. Her timing could not have been better; the pandemic had forced the college to transition its ABE program online and develop virtual instructional delivery options. At the core of their programs was Diploma Prep – a class that prepares students to take the official GED test or qualify for admission to the National External Diploma Program which can now be taken online.   

Soon the pair were meeting virtually to evaluate possible roadblocks for Lynch’s clients. They worked through technical issues, like how to ensure client confidentiality, and evaluated the college’s ability to provide individualized instruction. Lynch secured a donor to purchase five Chromebooks that could be loaned out the Villa Maria participants. Chapman reallocated instructional funds from an Adult Education and Family Literacy grant to hire an instructor to facilitate for the new E-Learning GED course. Classes began on March 8 with five initial participants. The course instructor currently meets individually with three active online learners to maintain confidentiality, assigning skill-based work tailored to each student's academic needs. Chapman hopes to expand the online E-Learning GED course model to include additional students who also experience barriers to attending face-to-face classes. 

“Our relationship with Villa Maria [Mountain Maryland] has led our program to experience an increase in referrals from other community-based health organizations. We’re grateful to Kathy and Catholic Charities for their commitment to removing barriers for those seeking better futures,” said Chapman. 

Operated by Catholic Charities and located at 308 Virginia Avenue in Cumberland, Villa Maria Mountain Maryland is a behavioral health clinic that provides mental and behavioral health services to children, adults and families in Allegany and Garrett counties. These services include individual counseling, family counseling, psychiatric evaluation, social and coping skill development, addiction counseling and treatment, and medication management. 

Allegany College of Maryland’s Adult Basic Education program is a grant-funded program that provides educational services to Maryland residents. The college offers courses at no-cost or with minimal fees for testing or materials, including Adult Basic Education, Diploma Prep, Family Literacy, English as a Second Language, Workplace and Career Readiness Skills, and ABE Program Support. More information available at or by calling 301-784-5448.

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