It was reported on MSNBC today that “every 11 seconds a child drops out of school somewhere in the nation.”
With the drop-out rate at 24.1% and the graduation rate at 64.8% for the Moreno Valley Unified School District, Dr. Judy White, the new superintendent of schools, is going to tackle these issues at the board’s September meeting. This is a good thing for many reasons. For starters, during the academic year 2009-10, 677 will contribute to the area already double-digit unemployment rate. A high percentage of these youth will commit crimes and contribute to an overcrowded legal prison system. They are more likely to cause all kind of mayhem in the community because of idle time on their hands.
We know the only kind of employment they might happen to get are jobs that require low skill and minimum pay with no chance for upward mobility unless they return to school. This group usually enters parenthood earlier than those who finish high school and enter college, creating another barrier for success.
Another reason I was happy to read that Dr. White is meeting this problem head on is because of some of the development that is slated for the valley region. It has been in the news that soon and very soon March Life Care, one of the nation’s largest health care developments, will need thousands of employees. Located next to Moreno Valley, all of these health care positions will require a minimum of a high school diploma even to work in housekeeping.
I just read an article that AMRO Fabrication is holding a job fair for 100 jobs in the March area and those jobs as well are requiring training and education beyond high school. The Black Voice News is also assisting with job fairs for positions needed in construction for the various building projects that are taking place on the Riverside Community College campus’, one of those colleges is in Moreno Valley.
So what Dr. White is doing is trying to correct a future problem for many of our young people before they know they are in trouble. As a matter of fact the entire county school system should tackle this problem. The county drop-out rate is 16.7%with a hard number of 5,662 students not receiving a diploma in the 2009-10 school year. These will be the very young people standing in line for employment and complaining when they are not hired.
Let me suggest to the schools, if you have not done so already, reach out to area employers and ask them to help address this issue. They can tell you what they are looking for in an employee and the necessary job qualification for employment.