Tag Archives: Summit County

The Effect Dropouts Have On the Cleveland Economy

Last week, I read an interesting report released by the Alliance for Excellent Education (The Alliance) that showed the Cleveland economy would grow significantly if the number of high school dropouts was cut in half. More than 8,000 students dropped out of the high school class of 2008 in Cleveland and the surrounding areas, according to the report.

The Alliance’s research shows that if just half of those students had graduated, on average, they would earn more than $52 million in additional income every year of their lives. In addition, in these areas, state and local tax revenues in an average year would jump by more than $8 million, according to the report. While Cleveland was the only city in Ohio the report included, it shows clearly the importance of graduating from high school or obtaining a GED.

The Alliance’s study also found that 61 percent of the additional high school graduates would continue their education with many earning a Ph.D. or other professional degree. From a national perspective, almost 600,000 students dropped out of the high school class of 2008 in the nation’s 50 largest cities and the surrounding areas. The Alliance’s research shows that if just half of those students had graduated, on average, they would have earned more than $4.1 billion in additional income every year. In addition, state and local tax revenues in an average year would jump by nearly $536 million.

I wonder how much impact a lower dropout rate in Summit County would affect the local economy? The 4,900 high schools located within the 50 cities that were included in the report have an average graduation rate of 69.8 percent, according to the report. Over 900 of these are considered “dropout factories,” that is, schools where fewer than 60 percent of freshman progress to their senior year on time.

For more information and specific numbers for each of the cities listed in the report, click here. In January, the Alliance will release additional economic and financial benefits of reducing dropout rates in these 50 cities, including additional spending and investment, job and economic growth, and home and auto sales.

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, D.C.-based policy, research and advocacy organization that works to make every child a high school graduate who is prepared for postsecondary education and success in life, according to the Alliance.

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The Struggling Economy and Its Effect on Education

It’s no secret that the economy is in trouble. The number of job openings is down 31 percent from a year ago. Since December 2007, there have been more than 2.7 million layoffs. Some economists say these are the worst statistics they’ve seen in 25 years.

 

To make matters worse, in Summit County (Ohio), more than 52,000 adults over the age of 25 lack a high school diploma. A sad, yet true statistic.

 

In Maryland, it’s estimated that about 30 percent of Baltimore city residents don’t read at a sufficient level or don’t have a high school diploma.

 

In addition to the Summit County residents without a high school diploma, Project Learn’s enrollment has increased because students realize they need better skills to compete and succeed in the workplace.

 

More companies are requiring that applicants possess college degrees for employment. Laid off workers are going back to school to earn their GED diplomas, in hope that it will lead to a job. Our students understand the dilemma that is before them. The first step to overcoming this problem is to get their GED diplomas. The next step is to acquire additional career training and higher education. proud-graduate3

 

Project Learn had 200 GED graduates last year. This year we are expecting close to 300 graduates. But we’re not the only program to see a spike in our graduation statistics.

 

Middletown City Schools’ Adult Education program saw 505 people earn their GED last year. With three months still left in this academic year, about 400 people have earned their GED so far.

 

The South Baltimore Learning Center (SBLC) has seen a jump in general interest and enrollment in both its GED and External Diploma classes. SBLC has even increased its classes and offerings by about 20 percent to accommodate interested students.

 

Pretty amazing, huh?

 

But what do you to when the number of students is increasing, but the amount of money you have is decreasing? And despite the recent stimulus bill, it’s likely that it won’t help adult students tooking to get their GED diplomas.

 

Tough call.

 

Although it will get harder to serve students with a limited budget, it will be even harder to turn them away.

 

Find out how you can help by visiting www.projectlearnsummit.org or calling 330-434-9461.