Earlier in the week we blogged about the nation’s dropout crisis and its implications for the future of the U.S .workforce. Now, just days later The New York Times echoes many of the same concerns we expressed.

The article, entitled, “States’ Inflated Data Obscure Epidemic of School Dropouts” also makes the business case for why Corporate Voices is concerned about and focused on this issue. Making the front page of Thursday’s (March 20, 2008) paper, the article paints the realities and dynamics of the dropout crisis. It sheds light on various states manipulating the data to boost the state’s educational reputation and ultimately its workforce readiness. In December 2005 all 50 governors agreed to standardize the way dropout rates are measured, but to date only 15 states have begun using the formula.

As mentioned in our previous blog about this issue, our Are They Really Ready To Work? 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 we desire to see a healthier more stable U.S. economy, we must provide our young people with the education and opportunities to succeed. Addressing the dropout crisis is at the core of this workforce readiness issue and vital to our success.

by Mia Hendricks