RAISE UP Act: Preparing Disadvantaged Youth for a Competitive Future
Our nation is failing millions of young people each year and providing youth living in some of the nation's most vulnerable communities with significantly less than a 50 percent chance of graduating high school.
- One out of seven people between the ages of 16 and 24 are high school dropouts. The number of dropouts grows by the day, with three out of ten high school students not graduating on time.
Youth joblessness is at its highest levels in more than sixty years.
- More than 3.5 million youth (ages of 16-24) are unemployed. Most recent BLS data reports that less than 45 percent of all high school drop outs (ages of 16-24) were unemployed. The teen unemployment rate has grown 8 percentage points since May 2007 from 15.9 percent to 24.2 percent. For African American male teens, only one in seven has access to work.
Dropping out of high school has the impact of a permanent recession for our youth.
- The GAO estimates between 2.3 million and 5.2 million American youth are disconnected.
- High school dropouts earn less than 6 percent of all dollars earned in the U.S. In the nation's 50 largest cities, high school dropouts make $10,000 less per year than high school graduates, and $34,000 less than college graduates.
- Only one-third (37 percent) of high school dropouts nationwide are steadily employed, and they are more than twice as likely to live in poverty.
When young people drop out of high school, there is no system in place to locate those students, identify why they dropped out, and connect them to the supports they need to succeed in school and the workforce. Research and practice demonstrate the need to serve disconnected youth comprehensively; yet persistent gaps remain.
The RAISE UP Act offers a strategy to close these gaps. RAISE UP challenges high school dropouts to attain a secondary school credential, a postsecondary credential, and a family supporting career - and provide them with the community support to succeed.
RAISE UP provides youth outside of traditional systems - with education, workforce, and wraparound support services to place them on pathways towards self-sufficiency. Wraparound supports may include academic services (credit recovery, curriculum interventions, college and career counseling), social support services (physical and mental health, child care, and housing), and work-based services (apprenticeships, skill training and job placement).
RAISE UP prioritizes areas with disproportionately high numbers of young people who have left secondary school without obtaining a diploma, areas with high percentages of youth joblessness, and areas with high concentrations of young people from low-income families. Partnerships are tasked with developing an outreach strategy to identify young people in disadvantaged situations.
RAISE UP is administered by the Department of Labor and serves youth ages 16-24 that have left secondary school without receiving a high school diploma, runaway and homeless youth, youth in foster care and those aging out of care, formerly incarcerated and court-involved youth, pregnant and parenting teens and young people with disabilities.
RAISE UP builds on the lessons learned from urban and rural communities nationwide thus, helping to replicate a standard set of services and best practices for reengaging and supporting disconnected and vulnerable youth.
RAISE UP supports local community partnerships in creating a systemic dropout recovery model - and integrating existing, often disparate services, to serve disconnected youth comprehensively. RAISE UP champions the work of local youth councils (authorized through the Workforce Investment Act) or other appropriately constituted entities, rather than duplicating existing collaborations' efforts.
Partnerships include representatives from - the local government (i.e. elected officials, such as mayors and chief municipal officers), local educational agency, workforce, juvenile justice, criminal justice, and child welfare systems, housing and mental health agencies, post-secondary educational institutions, community-based organizations, parent groups, young people etc.
Partnerships are charged to: Assess the needs and potential resources in the community; Integrate disparate community resources into a comprehensive strategy; Set goals and performance measures; Provide high school dropouts with education assistance, workforce preparation, and youth support (including wraparound services ranging from drug treatment to housing); and Measure and report results.
Swanson, C. (2009). Cities in Crisis 2009: Closing the Graduation Gap: Educational and Economic Conditions in America's Largest Cities. Bethesda, Maryland: Editorial Projects in Education Research Center..