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Why students dropping out of school to work actually hurt the workforce
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U.S. dropout rates might be at a record low, but as many as 8,300 students still drop out of high school each day, taking them out of the running for 90 percent of jobs, according to Slate. - photo by Payton Davis
U.S. dropout rates might be at a record low, but as many as 8,300 students still drop out of high school each day, taking them out of the running for 90 percent of jobs, according to Slate.

A Pew Research Center report said that fewer Hispanic and black youths dropping out led to the decline in the national rate; the number of 18-to 24-year-old dropouts fell from 4,068,000 in 1972 to 2,215,000 in 2013.

Still, Slate's article indicated those potential 8,300 dropouts daily will cost taxpayers $300,000 each over a lifetime, be twice as likely to live in poverty than college graduates, and 63 percent more likely to go to jail.

And young people quitting school hurts the U.S. economy.

"By 2020, nearly 6 million high school dropouts will go without work," according to Slate. "On the other side of the coin, there will be a shortage of 1.5 million college graduates to fill highly skilled jobs."

Slate's piece stated business and technology leaders cite this "growing gap" as one of the workforce's largest hurdles. Facts about that gap prove more grim when considering recent headlines in regards to dropouts: Many stop attending school to work.

According to Business Insider, in states such as North Dakota, Texas and Pennsylvania where numerous opportunities exist in the oil industry, the dropout rate increased by more than 6 percent between 2006 and 2013, though the national rate decreased.

What's the issue there? The fracking boom is over, Business Insider reported.

Elizabeth Cascio and Ayushi Narayn looked into oil's influence on dropouts, telling Business insider the teens' once-impressive earnings weren't permanent.

"By the end of our sample period when the price of oil remained (and hence labor demand should have remained) high the labor demand shocks from fracking no longer appear to favor dropouts, pointing to the possibility that that fracking-induced relative wage boosts for dropouts were only temporary," the authors said.

A PBS report stated dropouts earn $10,386 less than the typical high school graduate each year.

As I reported Sept. 4, opponents of New York's fight for a $15 minimum wage showed concern that students might drop out if able to make that amount hourly.

"What? I get $30,000 a year with no experience or skills? Who needs an education or hard work when (New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo) is raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour?" a New York Times Square billboard read, a young adult with headphones on and wearing sunglasses the poster's subject.

According to The Guardian, minimum wage increase advocates disregarded the billboard, arguing that if a $12 minimum wage existed, "the average age of an affected worker would be 36 years old." However, those behind the billboard's message pointed to a study that indicated that a higher minimum wage essentially pays students to cease their schooling.

Technology leaders hope new advancements make students stay in the classroom, Slate reported.

By utilizing the Internet and mobile devices, teachers can address a student as an individual rather than part of a class and that, along with new initiatives, has potential to make 2020's U.S. workforce less needy for skilled workers, according to Slate.

Its about truly understanding individual student requirements, truly understanding the resources that are available to address those requirements, and then using data and analytics to align those two things, Bruce Gardner, North America Education Director for IBM, said in Slate's report.

Technology in healthcare led to improved patient outcomes, and according to Slate, data and analytics that help doctors assists teachers too.