Ivy Tech Community College announced a new partnership with the United Methodist Youth Home. The agreement enables residents of the UMYH to work on their high school equivalency and earn college credit at the same time.
The United Methodist Youth Home in Evansville, IN provides residential services to at-risk youth. UMYH currently operates two facilities and serves 17 at-risk youths. In addition to residential services, UMYH also offers day treatment and truancy intervention programs to address the educational needs of adolescents who have either dropped out of high school or have a truancy history. In addition to Ivy Tech, the UMYH also partners with Vincennes University to provide access to post-secondary education.
According to Washtenaw County statistics, about 4.5% of students here dropped out of high school in 2020. Nearly 12% of high school students here do not graduate on time. Further, 42.8% of eleventh-grade students in Washtenaw County in 2019 failed to demonstrate that they were college-ready. In 2018, more than half (50.6%) of eighth grade students in Washtenaw County could not perform grade-level math. In 2019
- nearly 6% of children in Washtenaw County lived in high-poverty areas
- 25.5% of children in Washtenaw County lived in single-parent homes
- 4.5% of babies were born to mothers with no high school diploma or GED
Washtenaw Community College could reduce poverty here
My point here is that the number of at-risk youths in Washtenaw County is significant. There’s a lot of work to do here and the county would benefit immeasurably if the WCC administration was more engaged in solving these problems. Building a hotel is not going to improve the outlook for one single at-risk youth in this county.
In fact, diverting operating dollars to build a hotel and/or convention center could reduce services available to these youths. When a community college partners with social service agencies to help meet the needs of troubled kids, good things happen. When a community college administration gets distracted by misguided plans to make money, bad things happen. (Ask the WCC administration how much money they’ve sunk into the Health and Fitness Center in the past 18 months.)
The extraordinarily generous funding that Washtenaw County taxpayers provide for WCC could be funding intervention programs for at-risk youths. Instead, it’s underwriting a quasi-private gym that was built with the College executives in mind.
We need an administration that focuses on the educational needs of people in poverty in Washtenaw County. We also need Trustees who firmly understand their roles and where their loyalties should lie.
Photo Credit: Money 401(k) 2012 , via Flickr