Rep. Steven Roberts to Create Adult High Schools in Missouri
Roberts says legislation will help many St. Louis residents to further their education
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri General Assembly has given final approval to legislation supported by state Rep. Steven Roberts that would create one adult high school in St. Louis, and three more in other parts of the state. Roberts, who serves as a member of the House Workforce Development Committee, called the passage of HB 93 one of the major accomplishments of the 2017 session.
“More than 500,000 Missourians over age of 21 do not possess a High School diploma, and after age 21 they don’t currently have a path to earn one. Adult high schools provided comprehensive education on a shorter track, and offer the opportunity to acquire a degree and gain employable skills which could position graduates for jobs that make $3-4 more an hour and $6000-8000 more a year for full-time work,” said Roberts, D-St. Louis.
Roberts acknowledged that workforce development is an essential to crime prevention. He noted that unemployment is motivating factor for criminal behavior and pointed to the fact that the U.S. unemployment rate for African-American male youth ages 16-19 is 31.1 percent. The rate for African Americans with less than a high school diploma is 17.2 percent. The rates are in some cases double those of the population as a whole.
The bill that now moves to the governor’s desk to be signed into law will establish four adult high schools located in St. Louis City, Southeast Missouri, Mid-Missouri, and Southwest Missouri for individuals age 21 and up who do not have a high school diploma. It will give priority to Missourians who are currently on government assistance. The schools will help these individuals complete their high school education and obtain a diploma. They will also offer skills certifications based on regional demand through partnerships with community colleges and other programs. Additionally, they will offer a child care center to remove a significant barrier for many adults who would like to participate.
Roberts noted that the schools will also provide opportunities to establish mentorships that will help to ensure people stick with the program, and to help them develop life skills.
“This is a huge win for Missouri and for all Missourians who would like the opportunity to continue and complete their education,” said Roberts. “We know the adult high school concept is successful and will work wonders here in Missouri. It is based off a similar program in the state of Indiana that saw 88% of students who graduated employed or in college six months after graduation.”
For more information, contact the office of Rep. Roberts at 573-751-1400.