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Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

Through education, at-risk youth can be transformed into high school graduates armed with academic and professional capabilities and better social and civic skills. Education is the catalyst for bottom-up change and can become the epicenter in successful communities. The high school diploma serves as the most important impetus for driving personal and communal change. Educate our youth, and our communities will flourish. In fact, it can be argued that the successful graduation of even a single student de-risks a family unit and can amplify their impact by encouraging others to become contributing members of society. The power of example demonstrated by just a one individual graduating high school can begin to galvanize a single building or street. At scale, it can help build workforces with higher productivity, leading to lower poverty and reduced crime rates.
As you may know, South by Southwest (SXSW) is a set of film and music festivals and interactive conferences that take place every spring in Austin, Texas. It began in 1987, and has continued to grow in size every year, and last year exceeded 12,000 people.  Recently they added a track on education and have created a one-of-a-kind event where innovative leaders come together to change how we teach and learn, and to discuss the future of American education and career training. 
The pursuit of education, from earning a high school diploma to graduating college, is never an easy endeavor, especially for re-engaging students and nontraditional learners. A multitude of factors can affect the education attainment levels of someone struggling to go to or stay in school, including family life, social influences, unsupportive toxic surroundings, misguided direction, and lack of awareness of alternatives.
Educating our nation's youth requires ongoing involvement and support from education leaders. Although earning a high school diploma and enrolling in college are triumphant milestones for a student to reach, more of these students are failing to matriculate, faltering in the transitional period after graduation and before the first day of college classes. These college-enrolled students who never show up to campus comprise a phenomenon knownas "summer melt." During the summer months leading up to college, several factors can derail a student from actually stepping foot on campus in the fall, despite their academic ambition and college eligibility.
It's back-to-school season, and the second busiest shopping event of the year is in full swing. For many, the term back-to-school conjures up images of shiny yellow school buses, new backpacks filled will fresh supplies, rows and rows of lockers ready to be organized and personalized, and homerooms filled with desks awaiting a new crop of students ready to begin a new school year. 

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