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Learning & Housing

From “How a GED Is a Real Advantage…” by Ralph da Costa Nunez, President of the Institute For Children, Poverty & Homelessness, from Saturday’s Huffington Post:

Recent data demonstrate that obtaining a GED has employment and income benefits for all recipients. Nationally, high school dropouts who obtain a GED on average increase their earnings by $115 per week or $3,500 per year.

Even GED recipients who do continue to further their education are more likely to be employed full time than dropouts without the credential. Individuals with either a high school diploma or GED earn 33 percent ($7,000) more annually than high school dropouts without a GED [...]

Most strikingly, female New Yorkers with either credential earn nearly 94 percent more over their lifetimes than those without. They are also more likely to exit poverty than women with lower educational attainment. [...]

If homeless parents are expected to achieve stability through work, the Advantage program must provide them with the tools to make this goal a reality. Because family shelters often provide child care and other wrap-around services, GED courses can be easily and effectively offered at shelters. [...]

Of course, both qualitatively and quantitatively, New York and DC are quite different; simply in terms of population, NY is nearly sixteen times larger than the capitol city. However, the national data and the regional thesis discussed above are both striking. Da Costa Nunez indicates, essentially, that housing programs can become more effective in the long term when linked to education programs. Housing solutions are often temporary, whereas education and a degree are permanent — and permanently empowering.

Do you agree? Are credential-based education programs of equal importance to housing programs — or rather, is one critical for the success of the other? And is the education/housing connection a job for a government agency, or could that be tackled through non-profit partnerships?

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