Young People Who Leave High School Before Graduation

MDRC designs and evaluates projects that serve young people who have dropped out of high school (or are at risk of dropping out) and that seek to connect them with educational and work opportunities.

The Latest
Working Paper

High school and college students need more and better training to find jobs in the quickly evolving technical workforce. Courses of study in career and technical education (CTE) aim to provide these skills. This working paper examines the challenges to providing CTE and highlights the need for further research.

Working Paper

Changing labor market needs—particularly with regard to the clean energy sector—highlight the importance of developing new career and technical education (CTE) pathways. This working paper provides an overview of CTE policies and examines the need to improve the education and training pipeline to expand the climate workforce.

Key Documents

Evidence from Promising Programs

A review of high-quality studies, this paper highlights interventions — in education, employment and training, and second-chance programs — that have demonstrated positive results for young men of color. It comes as policymakers and philanthropies focus new attention on investing more to build opportunities for these young men. 


The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) emphasizes targeting out-of-school youth with training and services that are employer driven and linked to labor market demand. Drawing upon available research and on-the-ground experience, this paper summarizes existing knowledge that can guide implementation of key WIOA provisions for serving out-of-school youth.


Findings from the Project Rise Implementation Evaluation

Project Rise offers education, a paid internship, and case management to young adults who lack a high school credential and have been out of work and school for at least six months. Participants, who were attracted more by the educational instruction than by the internship, substantially engaged with the program.