Please consider signing on to the letter below in support of the RAISE UP Act (S.1279 and H.R.2358),legislation which was reintroduced this Congress by Senator Debbie Stabenow and Representative Dale Kildee to prepare disconnected youth for a competitive future.

The RAISE UP Act provides young people who have dropped out of high school with comprehensive supports (education, job training, and wraparound support services) so they can secure a secondary credential, a postsecondary credential, and a family sustaining career. Should you have trouble completing your information or questions about the legislation, please email Kisha Bird (CLASP/Campaign for Youth)at or Roberto Viramontes (First Focus Campaign for Children) at

Many thanks for your consideration.

* LETTER OF SUPPORT***{Please note: By signing on to this letter, you agree to have it tailored and sent to your members of Congress and others, including your contact information, as needed to advance the passage of this legislation.}

The undersigned organizations wish to express our support for the Reengaging Americans in Serious Education by Uniting Programs (RAISE UP)Act. This legislation will effectively prepare disadvantaged youth for a competitive future.

As you know, one out of seven people between the ages of 16 and 24 do not have a high school diploma and the number of dropouts grows by the day, with three out of ten high school students not graduating on time. Research demonstrates that these young people are less likely than their peers to be employed, and more likely to live in poverty. High school dropouts earn less than six percent of all dollars earned in the U.S. Furthermore, those without a high school diploma make $10,000 less per year than high school graduates, and $34,000 less than college graduates. Collectively, they represent a generation of lost potential.

Efforts across the country demonstrate that we can reengage these young people and support their success. Therefore, by building on the lessons learned from urban and rural communities nationwide, we can replicate a standard set of services and promising practices for reengaging and supporting disconnected and vulnerable youth. We cannot afford to lose the potential financial contribution of these young people to our economy and we must reengage our disconnected youth to sustain the civic fabric of our democracy.

The RAISE UP Act supports locally developed systems that will identify youth who have dropped out of high school and assist them to secure a secondary credential, a post secondary credential, and a family sustaining career and provide them the supports needed to succeed. It will do so through a comprehensive approach that provides young people with opportunities in the areas of education, workforce preparation, and wraparound support services. By bringing together local stakeholders, coordinating resources, and filling the disparate gaps in services, the RAISE UP Act offers a systemic approach to one of the nation's most troubling problems.

Our economy requires a workforce with the skills to compete in the 21st century global economy and the RAISE UP Act targets the root of the issue by placing priority on areas with disproportionately high numbers of young people who have left secondary school without obtaining a diploma, areas with high percentages of youth joblessness, and areas with high concentrations of young people from low-income families. With the help of the RAISE UP Act, our youth are provided with multiple ways to develop skills, earn an education, and achieve professional success in today’s world.

Even more important, our democracy requires an educated citizenry that is able to lead the nation for generations to come. The RAISE UP Act will help to ensure that all of our young people have the opportunity and ability to reach their full potential and contribute to a vibrant and strong America.

Thank you for your leadership on this important legislation.