DETROIT — All across Michigan, families and students have celebrated high school graduation. Earning that high school diploma is a building block to higher education, apprenticeships, a job or military service. We have all seen the statistics in the difference in earnings and the social outcomes of completing high school.

Why then, do some students decide to drop out? As an educator with nearly 30 years experience I have found that the most common reason is that students don’t understand the “why” of school. Why do I have to learn this? When will I ever use this subject in real life? How does school connect to what I might want to do?

When these questions get answered, the magic happens. This year our district partnered with a program called Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates, administered in partnership by Southeast Michigan Community Alliance and Youth Solutions, Inc, a statewide non-profit focused on ensuring Michigan’s young people win in education, employment, and as citizens.

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