RAISE UP Act Prepares Disadvantaged Youth for the Future
Sep 04, 2009
By Kisha Bird
September for many American families means back to school. Sadly, for more than 5 million young people in our nation this is not true. Three out of 10 high school students and more than 50 percent of minority youth and youth in high poverty urban and rural communities do not graduate on time.
Many of these young people remain disconnected from education and lack the skills necessary to actively participate in the labor market. As millions of American students are return to school, we must remember the youth that are being left behind.
To address this pressing policy issue, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow, Sherrod Brown, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Al Franken in early August introduced the RAISE UP Act (S. 1608/H.R. 3982), a dropout recovery bill designed to help communities to build a cross-systems approach to re-engage and support millions of youth who are being left behind, including young people who have left high school without a diploma and those at risk of dropping out. A companion bill was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Dale Kildee and Vern Ehlers.
The RAISE UP Act supports local systems that will identify young people who have dropped out of high school and challenge them to secure a diploma, a post-secondary credential, and a family- sustaining career. It will do so by providng young people with education opportunities, workforce preparation, and other support services. By bringing together local stakeholders, coordinating resources, and filling gaps in services, the RAISE UP Act offers a systemic approach to one of the nation's most troubling problems.
For our economic competitiveness, quality of life in our communities, and equity of opportunity, we must bring our disconnected youth into the economic mainstream. The RAISE UP act will be a great step forward in helping to provide young people with access to opportunities to realize their full potential.