PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota officials say 229 state prison inmates earned GED credentials in the past state fiscal year, up from 167 the previous year.

Inmates entering the state prison system who have no high school diploma are required to work toward a GED credential while incarcerated. The state Labor Department provides funding for inmates to receive classes in the General Educational Development program, which is recognized as the equivalent to a high school diploma.

State Corrections Secretary Denny Kaemingk (Kay-MINK) says a high school education or GED credential helps inmates get jobs when they are released from prison.

Officials say many inmates last year also completed courses in vocational training programs, commonsense parenting, financial issues, job search skills and moral development.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.