Kristin Harrington, executive director of Youth Solutions, which provides Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates programming through partnerships all over Michigan, knows change is possible.
“The challenge in Michigan is building our youth talent pipeline,” said Harrington. “In Michigan, nearly 11,000 kids drop out of high school every year. Without that building block of a diploma, students are more than twice as likely to live in poverty, 63 times more likely to be incarcerated and 59 percent more likely to be unemployed.”
The Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates program was established 10 years ago to help at-risk youth graduate from high school and be better prepared for the future – and not be part of the statistics Harrington mentioned.
That goal is seeing success.
A study by the University of Michigan-Flint shows students who enrolled in the Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates program have a higher graduation rate, higher weekly wages and an increased likelihood of enrolling in college.
The study included 299 senior-year participants from the graduation class of 2015.
Some of the findings of the report include:
Educators across the state are seeing similar results.
“This program is providing the ‘why’ for many students,” said Kevin Lane, principal of Starkweather Academy in Plymouth. “This is an amazing program that I wish every student in every school would have. It is providing the framework for what the state and we locally have been striving for and falling short of for the past 10 years.”
For more information, visit ouryouthsolutions.org.