Skill UP Mississippi is an initiative of the Office of Adult Education. Through various programs, such as Smart Start, MIBEST, and High School Equivalency classes, adult education is strengthening Mississippi’s workforce and contributing to creating a thriving economy.

Adult education programs offer opportunities that will enhance the skills and abilities of individuals preparing for the workforce or preparing for additional educational opportunities. To be competitive in today’s work environment, it is essential that individuals prepare themselves in the areas of math, reading, writing, communication, teamwork, and computer skills. Adult education provides the needed assistance in developing these skills and abilities for individuals to move effectively into diverse work settings. Find a program near you by visiting

  • High School Equivalency classes – Mississippi offers free classes designed for those 16 years of age or older and who are not currently enrolled in school who are pursuing nationally recognized High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma programs. HSE classes offered through community colleges and adult education programs across the state, provide students with a flexible, supportive environment designed to help them succeed. Completing an HSE can help students secure a higher paying job or pursue higher educational opportunities. Mississippi offers three assessments as well as a state-approved option to measure high school equivalency skills. To learn more about the different HSE options and how to earn your High School Equivalency Diploma, visit for more information.
  • English Language Acquisition – Classes designed to help eligible individuals who are English language learners achieve competence in reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension of the English language; and that leads to the attainment of the secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent.
  • Integrated Education & Training – Provide high school equivalency classes concurrently with workforce preparation and workforce training for a specific occupation. Visit for more information.
  • Workforce Preparation – The Smart Start Pathway Course, which is eligible for college credit, develops student’s foundational skills that are needed for their careers. The course allows students to learn and practice effective work habits and communication that are necessary for successful employment. Students learn about Mississippi’s current and emerging jobs within their region’s workforce area while identifying the career components that are essential for middle-skill employment. As Mississippi becomes a work-ready state, Smart Start students are prepared to take the WorkKeys test, which includes: Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents that test qualifies students for the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). Employers seek candidates with an NCRC regardless of the candidate’s educational background because the certificate is a valid predictor of job performance. Visit to learn more.  
  • National Career Readiness Certificate – Nearly 3,000 Mississippi employers recognize the NCRC in their hiring practices. Since 2015, over 8,500 individuals have exited an adult education program with a NCRC demonstrating to employers they have the skills needed to be successful in a job. Visit for more information.