The New Skills for Youth program awarded several states money to address the growing problem in connecting youth to career opportunities.

The K-12 system continues to fail a large group of students because it has failed to accurately understand how to effectively to engage students around their future and career interests.  This failure has had a major impact on both students, the preparation of a new American workforce, graduation rates, college retention rates, juvenile incarceration rates and the American economy.

High School Dropout Rates

Despite strong efforts at student retention at the high school level, we continue to have state and school district dropout rates between 35% and 20% under the best of circumstances, and these rates often skyrocket in major urban centers.

College Dropout Rates

The 4-year college dropout rate is a national embarrassment that receives very little attention.  Nationally only 56% of students graduate in four years (Higher Education NCESPEDS Survey)

The Economic Effect of High School Dropouts

The dropout rate nationally has a significant impact on the economy of cities, communities and states.  The Alliance for Excellent Education found that if the national graduation rate solely for the class of 2013 had been 90%, annual earnings would increase $7.2 billion, annual spending would increase $5.3 billion and there would be an increase of 65,150 new jobs.

Changing Demands for a Skilled Workforce

Ninety-Nine Percent of Jobs Created Post–Great Recession Go to Workers with Some Postsecondary Education.  For the first time in U.S. history, college graduates outnumber high school–educated workers in the labor force, highlighting a national shift in employment opportunities that now favors workers with postsecondary education.

Workers with at least some postsecondary education now represent two-thirds of the workforce, compared to workers with a high school diploma or less who represent just 34 percent of the labor force—a percentage that has declined steadily during the last decade. “Cyclical changes and structural changes have led to a shift from an economy driven by high school–educated labor to one in which almost two in three jobs require some form of postsecondary education or training.”  (America’s Divided Recovery: College Haves and Have-Nots, a new report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW).


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