Without postsecondary training, high school graduates in Philadelphia struggle to earn a living, reports Johns Hopkins’ Everyone Graduates Center in Untapped Potential. Graduates worked more and earned more than dropouts, but many diploma-only graduates remained below the poverty line. Only 35 percent of dropouts reported any income; those who worked averaged 25 weeks of employment and $9,000 in earnings. Those with only a high school diploma averaged $12,000 in earnings. As time goes on, the earnings gap widens.
High school graduates experience greater earnings growth than dropouts, but the upward slope is much steeper for those with at least some postsecondary education.
Students who lack the motivation or academic skills to earn a college degree should be encouraged to aim for a vocational certificate at a community college. The effort will pay off.