Countless studies show that young adults who pursue and attain a college degree or other technical/professional training shortly after high school increase their earning potential in the early years of their careers. This reality effectively increases their lifetime earning potential. The pandemic is also having an impact on employment opportunities for low and unskilled labor. The federal government has stated that young workers among others are facing a tough job market potentially compromising their futures.   

Consider the statistics 

The following statistics looked at students who graduated from Rochester Public School District (RPSD) in the 2013-2014 academic year. We identified students who have been awarded an academic certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree as of January 2021.  We found that 52% of the graduates obtained a degree or an academic certificate from a Minnesota institution of higher learning. That left 48% of the high school graduates either not going on to school or not completing their postsecondary education 

What are these graduates doing instead and how do we help them?  

We are not sure what these graduates are doing but some likely activities are: 

  • Going directly into the workforce 
  • Attending an out of state college or university  
  • Joining the military 

There are various actions we can take to help these young adults. Actions that we are considering include the follow efforts: 

  • Understanding more fully the workforce needs and providing educational engagement to young people in our community 
  • Developing and sustaining programs that supports students transitioning from high school to college 
  • Promoting on-the-job training that includes certification 

Actions you can take 

Education is important to growing our workforce and seizing opportunities within our community. Here are a couple of actions to consider:   

  • Invest in professional development opportunities for your young employeesinvesting in your workforce not only pays off in building employees’ skills, but improves retention. 
  • Partner with local universities and institutions of higher education to develop straight-to-work pipelines. 

There are various web sites with information worth exploring: 

  • Minnesota Office of Education has various topics of interest 

  • Minnesota State web site has great information on resource that are available 

  • Mike Rowe Works Foundation promotes careers in professions that do not require a four year degree but result in good paying jobs 

  • US Department of Education has various programs to help students