High school graduation is a strong predictor of future quality of life. For many, it marks entry into postsecondary education. For those who don’t graduate high school, a future of lower earnings and higher unemployment is likely. A 2009 Northeastern University study found each dropout costs our society ~$260,000 in lost earnings, taxes and productivity. Dropouts are also more likely to be arrested or to have a child while still a teenager, creating additional financial and social costs.
While we should applaud the continued rise in graduation rates, too many of today’s graduates simply cannot meet local workforce demands. A regional talent study found a need for 25,000 degreed and/or credentialed candidates to fill gaps in key growth sectors by 2018. Businesses and schools working together to offer apprenticeships, internships and other practical work experiences can help students to graduate prepared for success in the modern workforce.
Percentage of Students that Did NOT Graduate On-Time
For Every 100 Students in the Class of 2009
1-in-3 students are not work ready (qualified for 65% of the jobs in the Work Keys database)
“Approximately 50% of recent high school graduates report gaps in preparation for life after high school.” – 2014 Achieve Survey
What We’re Doing
TCCC’s High School Graduation Network (convened by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce) reviewed data associated with students at risk of dropping out and conducted interviews with many high school principals and guidance counselors.
In February 2015, TCCC hosted the first ever meeting of the superintendents and board chairs of the four public school districts serving the tri-county region. The meeting focused on the results of the Regional Education Report and opportunities for the districts to collaborate to address shared issues. Among the outcomes of the meeting was the formation of the Lowcountry Education Consortium, an informal group of the four district superintendents that meets monthly to discuss shared interests ranging from inclement weather policies to funding and advocacy.
As high schools in the tri-county area work to increase the college and career readiness of their graduates, one school in particular, Cane Bay High School, has exhibited best practices the Network will be sharing with others. Not only does the data show better than expected performance but also, from the custodian to the principal, the culture of the school has the student and the surrounding community at the center. Click here to read the full report, completed by TCCC Director of Facilitation, Troy Strother.
On-time High School
While we should applaud the continued rise in graduation rates, too many of today’s graduates simply cannot meet local workforce demands.