AIM High - The Problem
THE COMMUNITY PROBLEM: KIDS PREPARED TO FAIL
Adolescent students in Chicago’s low-income, inner-city neighborhoods face many obstacles. As a result, of those students who start high school, only 45% complete it. The college completion picture is even more bleak. Of those who enter 9th grade at a Chicago public school, only 6% will go on to finish college by age 25. From High School to the Future: A first look at Chicago Public School graduates’ college enrollment, college preparation, and graduation from four-year colleges, April 2006
These children face a “family of demons” including drugs, gangs, violence, and a decayed environment - vacant lots, substandard housing, and an absence of local businesses. Most live in female-headed households, with total annual incomes of less than $18,000. It is hard to focus on school when facing so many pressures and challenges at home. Children in these neighborhoods just as in other urban, low-income neighborhoods lack the firm foundation that prepares them for college success and the vast majority lack college-educated role models and connections to higher education.
THE BUSINESS PROBLEM: EMPLOYERS NEED BETTER EDUCATED EMPLOYEES
Two-thirds of employers currently find that public school students don’t have the basic cognitive skills needed to succeed in the workplace. Looking ahead, every industry is predicting severe blue collar and white collar labor shortages by 2015 and companies predict that 80% of the fastest growing jobs will require at least two years of college. The labor market horizon is bleak. With jobs to fill and a projected dearth of applicants, it’s critically important that the available applicants have the necessary education to fulfill the job responsibilities. Yankelovich Partners study, 2005
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