While the workforce is expected to experience an increase in jobs, predicting 18.9 million more jobs, the verdict is still out regarding whether or not America’s youth will be ready to rise to the occasion. Although the boom in jobs is expected to occur through 2014, current high school dropout rates among young people are alarming.

An estimated 1.23 million students, mostly minorities, fail to graduate from high school. Findings are measured by the Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI), which considers the number of students that will complete high school in four years. According to an article in Education Week, Diplomas Count: Ready for What?, for every 100 students in the 9th grade, only 90 will remain in the education pipeline until their sophomore year, and of this number, 70 will actually graduate four years later.

These statistics vary geographically. Detroit is noted as having the lowest rate at 24.9 percent, followed by Cleveland at 34.1 percent, then Baltimore at 34.6 percent. The highest graduation rates are found in Jefferson County, Colorado, at 81.5 percent, followed by Baltimore County, Maryland, at 81.1 percent, then Fairfax County, Virginia, at 80.4 percent.

Findings from our Are They Really Ready To Work? report indicate that even those with a high school diploma, associate’s, and or bachelor’s degrees are not as ready for the workforce as they should be.

This same report projects that in the next five years college graduates will continue to increase in number among new hires. More than one-quarter of employer respondents (27.7 percent) say that over the next five years their companies will reduce the hiring of new entrants with only a high school diploma. Nearly 60 percent project that their companies will increase the hiring of four-year college graduates and about half plan to increase the hiring of two-year college/technical school graduates.

If this is the case, coupled with an ever-growing global competitive workforce, the odds for dropouts obtaining decent jobs are slim to none.

By Mia Hendricks