High School Dropouts

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
Report

This report summarizes an evaluation of a program that helps young people with histories of foster care or juvenile justice custody become independent adults. The program improved earnings, housing stability and economic well-being, and some health and safety outcomes. It did not improve education, social support, or criminal involvement outcomes.

Brief

Over four million young people in the United States are “disconnected,” meaning they are not in school and are not working. In the past few months, studies of three programs aimed at such young people have released new findings. This brief discusses these findings and their implications.

Key Documents
Brief

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.

Report

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. 

Working Paper

A Scan of the Evidence

Disconnected young people are the focus of several recent national initiatives to improve their life prospects. Drawing on interviews and available research, this MDRC Working Paper scans the current state of policy and evidence regarding what works in helping young people reconnect to work or school.