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More people seek GEDs in rough job market

For much of his career, Marion Wyatt compensated for the glaring gap in his résumé by trying to work harder than everyone else.

Without a high school diploma, Wyatt put in long hours as a district manager for a mobile phone company. He prided himself on being available at all times, even taking a phone call during a family member's funeral.

"I felt I had to work twice as hard as the next guy because I had something to hide," said Wyatt, now 40 and living in Garner.

But those long hours didn't help him land a new job after he was laid off about a year ago. Potential employers demanded a high school diploma, and so, like an increasing number of people in his situation, Wyatt earned his GED through a program at Wake Technical Community College.

More than 700 students earned their GED or adult high school diploma this academic year at Wake Tech, a 24 percent increase over last year. Enrollment is up about 10 percent in the same programs at Durham Technical Community College.

"When the economy turns down and people can't find another job, they think about going back to school," said Stephen Scott, president of Wake Tech.

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