College Preparation for African American Students: Gaps in the High School Educational Experience
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College degree attainment is regarded as a primary solution to reduce poverty and close wealth gaps between people of color and whites in the United States. With the changing labor market and a more globalized economy, a far greater number of jobs require a postsecondary credential. By 2020, it is estimated that two-thirds of jobs will require college experience, with 30 percent of those jobs requiring at least a bachelor’s degree and 36 percent of jobs requiring at least some college or an associate degree (Carnevale, Smith & Strohl, 2013). More students must attend and complete college to keep pace with this employer demand. However, many African American young people graduate high school unprepared for the rigors of college. As the demographics of the United States shift and a majority of our nation’s students are children of color, their failure in school and lack of preparation for postsecondary opportunities have significant implications for the American labor market and economy.