This past week, news feeds have been filled with graduation speeches, notable graduation speakers, highlights of advice, lessons “I wish I had known” and stories of celebration and achievement. Facebook and Twitter are buzzing with happy family photos, smiling faces, diplomas, and graduation parties.
While it is a time to celebrate the hard work and achievements, the endurance and the triumphs, and the challenges and successes of our graduates, it’s impossible not to wonder what happened (or will happen) to those who did not graduate?
Launched by America’s Promise Alliance in 2010, a movement called “Grad Nation” is working to end America’s dropout crisis by engaging organizations, individuals and communities who realize the impact that the drop out rate has on our economy and on the life choices of our young people. According to Grad Nation 2012, the high school drop out rate claims more than “one million students each year, costing individuals the loss of potential earnings and the nation hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenue.” Hundreds of billions. Ensuring that our young people persist and succeed in high school is about making sure they are engaged in critical thinking, analysis, historical foundations, basic skills of reading/writing — which, of course, are vitally important. But, to not invest in them means that we, in turn, are not investing in our own success as well.
The success of our young people has a national impact.
“Building a Grad Nation 2012” highlights some key economic outcomes
of improving the high school and college graduation rates:
- higher education results in higher earnings for individuals
- higher education lowers costs to taxpayers — moving just one student from dropout status to graduate status yields more than $200,000 in higher tax revenue and lower government expenditures
- education helps to close the skills gap and ensures that America remains competitive
- improved education boosts the nation’s economic growth
It’s exciting for us to see that Coaching For Change has really focused on these key areas as well. Because we offer paid apprenticeships, we equip our students with the skills and knowledge to be competitive in a global environment while also contributing to their financial stability. It was not enough for us to just say, “Work hard. Stay in school.” We needed to provide structural — and financial — support for our students to make it possible!
By providing a cross-age mentoring program, our college partners inspire our high school students to stay on the path towards graduation and college attendance; our high school students work closely with our elementary and middle school students, decreasing the pipeline of young people who are underprepared and underserved.
At Coaching For Change, we seek to develop partnerships with civic leaders, community organizations, and corporations who want to be a part of community change. Together, we can increase opportunities for economic improvement, decrease the high school drop out rate, and develop our next generation of leaders.
Coaching tomorrow’s leaders, starting today.