RAISE UP Act a Smart Investment in Youth
In recent years, the magnitude of the nation's dropout problem has garnered greater attention -- as it should. Nearly one-third of young people fail to graduate high school on time. For minorities and youth in urban and rural communities, the likelihood of graduating on time falls to 50 percent. With nearly 6.2 million high school dropouts (ages 16-24) and youth employment at its lowest in 60 years, we face a crisis. Unfortunately, there has been little focus on how to address the challenge of getting back on track young people who have already exited the school system and are also out of work.
The RAISE UP Act takes on this challenge and seeks to reengage young people who have fallen or are at risk of falling outside the education and labor market mainstream. Introduced by U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow, Sherrod Brown, and Al Franken and U.S. Congressman Dale Kildee in June, this legislation builds on decades of best practice knowledge and supports local community partnerships in developing community-wide dropout recovery systems. By integrating essential, and often disparate, education, workforce, social services and supports, RAISE UP will provide pathways for disadvantaged youth to graduate from secondary school, attain a postsecondary credential, and secure family-supporting career.
RAISE UP is a smart and necessary investment. There are lifelong economic consequences for high school dropouts. Over a working lifetime from ages 18-64, high school dropouts are estimated to earn $400,000 less than those who graduate from high school. If given the opportunity to earn a high school credential, the combined lifetime financial benefits--including the payment of payroll, federal, and state income taxes--could amount to more than $250,000 per student.
That said, securing a high school diploma is not enough. Seventy-five percent of U.S. jobs created between now and 2014 will require some type of postsecondary credential. RAISE UP supports community partnerships as they craft innovative approaches to help young people attain a degree, credential, and wage-sustaining job.
The RAISE UP Act will help fuel local leadership and provide communities with sufficient resources to undertake efforts that will produce real change on the ground, thereby, dramatically changing the future possibilities for millions of youth.
Read Press Release from Senator Stabenow and Congressman Kildee.
Andrew Sum, Ishwar Khatiwada, Joseph McLaughlin, & Sheila Palma. The Historically Low Summer and Year Round 2008 Teen Employment Rate: The Case for An Immediate National Public Policy Response to Create Jobs for the Nation's Youth, The Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, September 2008 http://www.clms.neu.edu/publication/documents/The_Historically_Low_Summer_2008_Teen_Employment_Rate.pdf
Left behind in America: The Nation's Dropout Crisis, The Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University and the Alternative Schools Network in Chicago, May 2009, http://www.clms.neu.edu/publication/documents/CLMS_2009_Dropout_Report.pdf