The RAISE UP Act Prepares Disconnected Youth for a Competitive Future

Washington D.C. – Today, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Representative Dale Kildee (D-MI) introduced legislation to support young people who have dropped out of school in earning a secondary school diploma and attaining a 2-year or 4-year credential from a postsecondary institution. The Reengaging Americans in Serious Education by Uniting Programs (RAISE UP) Act seeks to give disconnected youth access to the professional skills they need in order to pursue a competitive career.

By creating community partnerships that integrate often disparate services into a comprehensive, cross-systems dropout recovery approach, the RAISE UP act will build dropout recovery systems at the local level.
“Dropping out of high school has a severe impact on the future livelihood of a teenager,” said Senator Stabenow. “High school dropouts earn $10,000 less per year than high school graduates, and $34,000 less than college graduates. If we make existing initiatives more efficient we can provide our youth better access to resources that will help them get back on track and attain the skills to compete in the global economy.”

“As a former teacher, I believe the best way to prepare our youth for professional success and strengthen our workforce is to provide every child with a quality education,” said Congressman Dale E. Kildee. “Sadly, many students leave school due to economic difficulties or because they lack a nurturing home environment, putting them at a professional disadvantage in our increasingly globalized economy. No one deserves to have their economic future restricted because of challenges they faced during their early years. That is why I joined Senator Stabenow to introduce the RAISE UP Act to support disadvantaged young people and help them reengage with their education.”

“We commend Senator Stabenow and Representative Kildee for demonstrating their support of disconnected youth by introducing the RAISE UP Act,” said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children. “While it is important to focus on prevention mechanisms to help raise student achievement and improve graduation rates, it is also critical that we create re-engagement strategies that locate disconnected youth, identify why they dropped out, and connect them to the supports they need to succeed in education and the workforce. Research and practice demonstrate the need to serve disconnected youth comprehensively. And while gaps still remain, the RAISE UP Act will provide education, workforce, and wraparound support services to place our youth on pathways towards self-sufficiency. For the sake of our young people as well as our nation, we can no longer ignore this vast pool of untapped talent. We look forward to working with Congress, national and state partners, and youth leaders to pass this important legislation.”

Researchers estimate that the number of disconnected youth range from 2.3 million to 5.2 million. Disconnected youth encompass a broad population that may include high school dropouts, teenage parents, homeless and runaway youth, youth in the juvenile justice system, or youth who have aged out of the foster care system.

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