October 17, 2017

Build the Future: Alternative Pathways

On October 11, Education Nation hosted the Build the Future town hall in Boston, where panels of nonprofit and school leaders discussed the challenges facing young people after high school and strategies to ensure their success in college, career, and life. 

Re-Engagement Center Manager Manny Allen participated on a panel about alternative pathways for young people, specifically talking about the work of the Boston Re-Engagement Center to reconnect disengaged young people with their education. The young people who come to the Re-Engagement Center are either high school dropouts or near-dropouts, and many become disconnected from school in pursuit of a job and earning money. Manny says this is what led him to leave school when he was almost 17. "I wanted to live independently and follow my own track, so I decided to drop out. What I ended up doing was getting a job -- I thought that I was going be independent, have my own house, my own car," says Manny. However, he soon realized that the jobs available to him without a high school diploma or postsecondary credential were extremely limited. 

When it comes to re-engaging young people, Manny says the key is to connect education with independence by helping youth understand the relationship between educational attainment and career opportunities. Leading up to the panel, Manny was featured alongside Dropout Re-Engagement Specialist Jermaine Hamilton in a video where the two discuss their own experiences dropping out of high school and getting back on track. Watch their stories:

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