Twice as Many High School Dropouts Unemployed & Living in Poverty Than Diploma-Holding...

Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:00am EDT

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Twice as Many High School Dropouts Unemployed & Living in Poverty Than
Diploma-Holding Peers

PA Partnerships for Children Report Details Economic Implications of Dropping
out of School and Outlines Strategies to Re-engage Dropouts 

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Partnerships
for Children (PPC) today released a new report that shows that young people
who drop out of high school are twice as likely to live in poverty as youth
who have received a high school diploma, and three times as likely as youth
who have attended some college or earned an associate's degree.

Dropping Back In: Re-engaging Out-of-School Youth -- which also shows that
twice as many high school dropouts are unemployed as their diploma-holding
peers -- recommends state and local policy strategies and initiatives to
re-connect high school dropouts with their education. The report details
income, unemployment and poverty rates based on educational attainment from
data available through the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry and the
2007 American Community Survey of the U.S. Census.

Earnings and access to employment are directly linked to the amount of
education a person possesses. In Pennsylvania, young people who drop out of
school can expect their annual earnings to be less than half those of a
college graduate with a bachelor's degree (roughly $19,000 vs. $45,000). Many
students don't consider the long-term repercussions of dropping out such as
increased unemployment, less earning potential, poverty, and reliance on
public assistance.

"In today's high-tech world, securing a high school diploma is a must but far
too many Pennsylvania children fail to graduate," said Joan L. Benso,
president and CEO of PA Partnerships for Children, a statewide children's
advocacy organization. "It is imperative that we provide the necessary
supports to not only keep kids in school and prevent them from dropping out in
the first place, but to find a way to re-engage them in their education once
they have dropped out."

Helping youth successfully transition to adulthood requires a solid dropout
prevention strategy that aids students at risk of education failure and
assures graduating students are prepared for postsecondary education and work.
An effective strategy also reconnects high school dropouts with continued
education and the workforce. According to the PPC report, options to reconnect
high school dropouts to their education are comprehensive, youth-centered and
flexible.

They also:
    --  Provide low-literacy support to advance literacy skills for struggling
        students;
    --  Use real-world context, are relevant and provide connections to
        employers and occupations;
    --  Provide strong connections to postsecondary education/training;
    --  Include accelerated learning and credit recovery for students who are
        over-age and severely under credited;
    --  Have a variety of options including evening classes and online courses
        to address the particular needs of out-of-school youth;
    --  Provide small learning environments and include connections to caring
        adults; and
    --  Provide access to needed supports for special populations including
        pregnant and parenting teens or foster care youth.



"We must rethink the traditional way of securing a high school diploma and
find alternatives that expand education options and create links among high
school, postsecondary education and high-skill, higher-wage occupations,"
Benso said. "We can do this, but it will require clear state priorities on
dropout prevention and re-engagement, as well as postsecondary access."

More information including unemployment, poverty and salary data by
educational attainment is available by visiting
www.papartnerships.org/droppingbackin/ or by contacting Kathy Geller Myers,
Communications Director, at 717-236-5680.



SOURCE  Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children

Kathy Geller Myers of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, +1-717-236-5680,
+1-717-903-3716 (mobile), kgmyers@papartnerships.org
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