By Dr. Jesse Smith and Dr. Andrea Mayfield
Mississippi’s economy rises and falls on its ability to put people to work in jobs that pay family-sustaining wages. Yet, one in five working-age (25-65 years old) adults in our state is a high school dropout. The unemployment rate for recent high school dropouts hovers at 30 percent and most certainly contributes to Mississippi’s low workforce participation rate of 57 percent, the second lowest in the nation. Mississippi dropouts who do enter the workforce are typically destined to low skill, low wage jobs that offer little financial security.