Only 57% of high school students who enroll in Portland Public Schools graduate, and youth of color and/or lower socio economic status are far less likely to graduate than their counterparts (Portland Schools Foundation). Nationally, 88% of high school students who drop out have passing grades but are bored with school, see no reason to get a diploma, and need money (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2006). Many teens are actually encouraged to drop out to help support their families.
By giving teens an opportunity to gain professionalism, accountability, and general job readiness, the Internship Program provides the incentive for youth to achieve their career and higher education goals. The outcomes of our teens are amazing: 35% are hired by their internship site 100% graduate high school 100% are succeeding in college
Teens who take full advantage of Step It Up, Inc.'s career development programs break out of the cycle of poverty, transform their futures and those of future generations. Rather than drop out of high school and work minimum wage jobs, they graduate high school, pursue a post-secondary education, and become productive adults with meaningful careers. This benefits the community as well: according to the College Board every high school graduate adds over $400,000 to the economy in their lifetime.