Local communities are in crisis. With one million students dropping out each year, our nation is losing billions in lost wages and taxes, plus the increased social costs due to crime and healthcare. Further, our future generation is not prepared for the new workforce demands. American businesses need 97 million middle- and high-skilled workers, yet only 45 million Americans possess the necessary education and skills to fill these positions. The majority of jobs in the next 10 years will require some postsecondary education.
Public television and radio stations across the country are helping communities find solutions to address the high school dropout crisis through American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). In addition to national content and classroom resources, public radio and television stations are at the core of this initiative with local content and collaborations. Over 75 locally-owned and operated stations in more than 30 states are working directly with 800 community partners and schools to breakdown silos and coordinate action, join forces on locally-based solutions, work directly with parents, teachers, mentors, volunteers and business leaders, and help keep high school students on a path to college and career. For example, CPB and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supported 12 Teacher Town Halls and the StoryCorps National Teachers Initiative to give teachers a way to share their challenges, solutions, and experiences helping all students graduate high school.