The Program

Career Online High School (COHS) is a nationally accredited program that enables adults to earn a high school diploma and a career certificate in a variety of high-demand career fields. All coursework is free and offered online, providing learners the flexibility to juggle jobs, family, and other responsibilities while still succeeding in their studies.

Each student must complete 36 classes and be willing to devote a minimum of 10 hours to coursework each week. Students have up to 18 months to finish the program and are paired with an academic coach to encourage and guide them all the way to graduation. Courses are taught in an online learning environment available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Need

Factors like family income, pregnancy, mental health, and unsupported learning differences can all lead young people to drop out of high school before graduation. Currently, 17% of Santa Clara County students do not graduate high school, and as the cost of living continues to rise, surviving in San José and Silicon Valley without a diploma becomes increasingly difficult.

The Alliance for Excellent Education’s Graduation Effect economic model projects that if the United States were able to reach a 90% high school graduation rate, it would translate to a $3.1 billion increase in annual earnings, create more than 14,000 new jobs, and save $16.1 billion in health care costs.

Our Impact

Since launching in 2016, the San José Public Library’s COHS program has a 75% completion rate – highest in the nation for any such program. To date, 114 adult learners have earned both an accredited high school diploma and career certificate in one of the following fields:

  • Child Care and Education
  • Commercial Driving
  • Food and Hospitality
  • General Career Preparation
  • Home Care Professional
  • Hospitality and Leisure
  • Office Management
  • Retail Customer Service
  • Security Professional

The Library Foundation partners with the California State Library, and generous sponsors to offer full scholarships for adult learners to enroll in COHS and earn their diplomas. The Library has awarded 191 scholarships over the course of the program (see chart). To learn more about the program and how to enroll, please visit the SJPL website.

Watch the latest COHS Graduation Ceremony

On February 4, the Library Foundation hosted a virtual event for more than 100 friends, family, library supporters, and community members to celebrate the latest cohort of graduates from SJPL’s COHS program! In case you missed it, you can watch a replay:

Silvia's Story

“I gained a lot from the program. It was hard, but I learned that if I want something, I need to be perseverant. Right now, I am looking to obtain a college diploma. I plan to become a coach for parents who have autistic kids. It is never too late to achieve your dream!”
– Silvia Nolasco, COHS Class of 2021


program graduates since 2016


The COHS program is made possible through the generosity of the following organizations and individuals.

Paperback Tier $10K+

Board Book Tier $5K+

Filipino American City Employees

Picture Book Tier $1K+

Ernst & Young LLP
Excite Credit Union
Friends of the Dr Roberto Cruz Alum Rock Library
Friends of the Evergreen Library
Heritage Bank of Commerce
City of San José – Mayor’s Office
City of San José – District 6
Dawn Coppin
Jason Molenda

Make a donation!

If you would like to make a gift to support this program, please visit the donate page on this website, select “Other” under “Where to Give” and indicate COHS in the space provided.