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High cost of failure, shortage of skilled workers

High cost of failure. Students from disadvantaged neighborhoods often lack parental support, adult mentors, life skills, training and career paths. Many face barriers such as involvement with the judicial system, poverty, pregnancy and parenting challenges, mental health issues, substance abuse, disabilities, violence in their homes or communities, and lack of transportation, clothing and child care. Students who stand out in their neighborhoods because they are trying to succeed can face powerful peer pressure.

As failure rates have shown, urban teens often remain at risk after graduation, even if they get jobs or are accepted into institutions of higher learning. Failure not only wastes lives but costs billions in social programs, crime, lost productivity and lost tax revenues.

Skilled-worker shortages. Simultaneously, severe shortages of skilled workers are projected in some industries. In health care, by 2020 a national shortage of 1,000,000 nurses, 100,000 physicians and 250,000 public health care professionals is projected. In Cincinnati these shortages are exacerbated by low college enrollment and graduation rates. Bridging the Gap is helping to address shortages while turning at-risk students into productive citizens.