A report commissioned by
America's Promise Alliance, the nation's largest alliance of
organizations working on behalf of children and youth, found that
only about half of all students served by the main school systems in
the nation's 50 largest cities graduate from high school. In
Lincoln, approximately 1 in 25, or 4 percent, of teens do not
graduate with their class. Nationwide, nearly one out of every three
public high school students drop out before graduation. That's 1.3
million each year, one every 26 seconds or nearly 7,200 each school
"Far too many young people in Lincoln and across the nation are
dropping out of school, leaving their future and that of our
community at risk," said Heidi Browne, events coordinator at the
Lincoln/Logan Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the
Force. "We need to come together as a community like never before to
provide the necessary support to help our youth graduate from high
school, so they are prepared for college and have the necessary
skills to succeed in life."
Experts agree that the well-being and prosperity of our community
and the nation are dependent upon an educated work force. By 2010,
two-thirds of all jobs will require postsecondary instruction. Yet
today, millions enter the work force lacking even basic skills for
success. Young people who drop out are more likely to be
incarcerated, rely on public programs and social services, and go
without health insurance than those who graduate from high school.
Experts estimate that dropouts from the Class of 2006-07 will cost
the U.S. more than $329 billion in lost wages, taxes and
productivity over their lifetimes.
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Alma Powell, chairwoman of America's Promise Alliance, was the
summit keynote speaker. Powell, who co-founded the alliance with her
husband, retired Gen. Colin Powell, stated: "We need to make sure
every taxpayer understands that the 84,875 students in Illinois who
dropped out of school in 2008 will lose an estimated $11 billion in
earnings over their lifetimes. They will cost Illinois $255 million
more in health care costs than if they had earned a diploma."
Research shows that the more support youth have, both inside and
outside of the classroom, the more likely they are to stay in
school. Specifically, research demonstrates that the more young
people experience five essential wrap-around supports -- what the
alliance calls the "Five Promises": caring adults, safe places, a
healthy start, effective education and opportunities to help others
-- the greater their chance for future success.
The Healthy Communities Partnership has been striving to improve
the health and quality of life for the residents of Logan County
since 1998, in order to create the healthiest community in America.
For more information regarding the Healthy Communities Partnership
or other partnership task forces, contact Kristi Lessen, director of
the Healthy Communities Partnership, at 217-732-5066, or visit
[Text from file received from