This story was originally published on Women 2.0 by Kara Kennedy (Executive Director, Lumity).

Do you remember the moment you decided what you were going to be when you grew up? I considered being a nurse (like my mom) or a salesman (like my dad) or an educator until finally settling on social work, based on a teacher’s suggestion.

In retrospect, I regret only exploring four career options, but I understand why it happened – I simply didn’t have exposure to many workplace settings or career alternatives.

Not Much Has Changed

Not surprisingly, the outlook for many of our nation’s young people is getting bleaker by the day. Consider the following statistics:

  • If you are born into poverty today, you have a 42 percent chance of remaining in poverty for the rest of your life.
  • Of the 30,000 freshmen who enter Chicago Public Schools each year, only about 2,400 will graduate from college.
  • 78 percent of high school dropouts will be jobless by the time they are 24 years old.

Unfortunately, many students aren’t exposed to much more than I was 30 years ago, at least when it comes potential career paths.

If we want to increase the number of students graduating from college, it starts by engaging, exposing, inspiring and preparing them for their career possibilities.

To read the rest of the story, visit Women 2.0.