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Knoxville Regional
Transportation Planning Organization

400 Main St, Suite 403
Knoxville, TN 37902

email: contact@planeasttn.org
phone: (865) 215-2500
fax: (865) 215-2068

American Graduate Initiative Highlights Dropout Problem in East Tennessee

Posted 11/26/2012

A new initiative is looking at ways to buoy the graduation rate among high school students across the region, beginning with a community forum to be held in December.

East Tennessee PBS is taking a look at an important piece of the East Tennessee’s education puzzle: decreasing the rate of high school dropouts. As a part of an initiative called American Graduate, ETPBS along with partners PlanET, TribeOne and the Knoxville Area Urban League, will conduct a community forum on the topic in December.

Across the five PlanET counties, about 10.5% of residents aged 25 to 64 have failed to complete their high school education. In Union County the situation is dramatically worse with nearly 29% of residents not having completed high school.  For these individuals, this decision can have lifelong implications including:
  • a higher unemployment rate: 13.1% compared to 7.2% for high school graduates
  • lower rates of labor force participation: 52.9% of dropouts are part of the labor force, compared to 73.6% of graduates
  • twice the likelihood of incomes falling below the poverty level:  26.2%  compared to 11.6% for high school graduates
And for those continuing their education beyond high school, the opportunities are even better, with 85% participating in the labor force and an unemployment rate that is less than one-fourth the rate for those not holding a high school diploma or equivalent.

To learn more about the initiative, visit the station’s website at www.easttennesseepbs.org.
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