WHY IT MATTERS
Americans have always taken pride in having the best-educated workforce in the world, but now that is no longer true. In Tough Choices, Tough Times, the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce reports that over the past 30 years one country after another has surpassed the United States in the percentage of its population entering the workforce with the equivalent of a high school diploma, and many more countries are on the verge of doing so. Thirty years ago, the U.S. could lay claim to having 30 percent of the world’s population of college students. Today that proportion has fallen substantially, to 14 percent, and continues to decline. American students place anywhere from the middle of the pack to the bottom in all three continuing comparative studies of achievement in mathematics, science, and general literacy among advanced industrial nations. Entrepreneurs and businesspeople, along with the non-profit organization Building Bridges for Business, are giving local students the chance to see what life is like after high school and college. U can B is now in numerous schools across the State of Pennsylvania and is expanding into several states in 2015.