Young Adults Without a High School Diploma Face Tough Odds

2012 Maine KIDS COUNT Data Book

Adults without a high school degree are more likely to live in poverty and have poor health outcomes than adults with a high school degree or post-secondary education, according to the 2012 Maine KIDS COUNT Data Book released today by the Maine Children’s Alliance. The book is an annual compilation of evidence-based data on the status and well-being of children in Maine.

John Peters, President of Downeast Energy, talks about the importance of early childhood investments.

This year’s report includes a “Focus on Transition” section that takes an in-depth look at the impact educational attainment has on a student’s future and how well Maine’s students are faring. “Maine’s future economic health absolutely depends on the health and education of our children,” said John Dorrer, Director of Labor Market and Workforce Research at Jobs for the Future, at the release.  “Early investments pay off, and it is critical both for kids and for all of us that older youth in transition receive the support necessary to thrive in the 21st century economy.”

“A young person who drops out of high school is less likely to have the skills and qualifications necessary to function in today’s increasingly complex society and technology-dependent work place,” John Peters, President of Downeast Energy, said. “As an employer I have seen, first hand, that market needs have shifted over the past decades.  Today, even more than in the past, we need a well-educated workforce – one that understands state-of-the-art technology, as well as the on-going fundamentals like interpersonal skills, a good work ethic and engagement in the community.”

Lynn Ploof-Davis, Director of the University of Maine, Farmington, Upward Bound Program, emphasized

Lynn Ploof-Davis, UMF's Upward Bound Director, stresses the importance of Maine students having access to high-quality and affordable higher education.

that “at-risk youth need targeted services to help them overcome the barriers that prohibit them from achieving.  There are programs that work and those programs have proven over and over again that there are things we can do to help children of all ages reach their educational goals.  We must be willing to intervene on behalf of older youth who might not have benefited from earlier intervention and support. The cost of investment is significant, but the cost of failing to do so is far greater.”

Claire Berkowitz, Research and KIDS COUNT Director of the Maine Children’s Alliance, highlighted other important data points in this year’s book, including that, in 2010 (the most recent data available), 18.2 percent of all Maine children under age 18 were living in poverty—an increase from 17.5 percent in 2009 as reported last year. Among children under age 5, almost 24 percent were living in poverty. “The youngest among us are also the poorest among us,” said Berkowitz.

The Maine KIDS COUNT Data Book is an annual compilation of evidence-based data on the status and well-being of children in Maine. KIDS COUNT, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a project of the Maine Children’s Alliance (MCA) – a non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of all Maine’s children, youth and families through sound public policies.

The 2012 Maine KIDS COUNT Data Book, including summaries by county for many indicators, is available on the Maine Children’s Alliance website,

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