A new report released today by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development highlights the especially bleak job prospects facing high school graduates. Just 16 percent of the classes of 2099-11 had full-time employment. Even though things were considerably better prior to the Great Recession, even during the few years beforehand just 37 percent of high school grads were employed full time.
This is NEWS in the sense that we don’t hear these kinds of numbers very often. We are reminded almost daily what a terrible time college grads are having making a go of it as their debts pile up. So, college may not be the answer for the millions of unemployed or under-employed high school graduates who need help.
We need to direct our attention instead to ways of providing these youth with post-secondary skills other than college. Earlier this week I made mention of YouthBuild’s many successes in training young people in construction trades. I have also previously discussed the successful work of Future Chefs in preparing youth for careers in the culinary arts. There ARE pathways to opportunity for high school graduates; they just may not involve the ivory tower.