Study’s findings point to a lack of opportunities for Philadelphia youth

    Military officials who are worried about finding future soldiers are lobbying for more early childhood education funding.

    Military officials who are worried about finding future soldiers are lobbying for more early childhood education funding. Their plea for Pre-K programs came in response to a new study that found that up to 90 percent of Philadelphia youth lack the qualifications for military service. From WHYY’s Behavioral Health desk, Maiken Scott reports the same factors close all sorts of doors.

    It’s not just a career in the military that young people in Philadelphia are cut off from. Youth advocates say while military service requires specific qualifications – physical fitness, a clean criminal record and a high school education – the latter two apply to other opportunities as well. 50 percent of Philadelphia students drop out of high school – keeping them from getting into college and finding employment.

    Christie Balka of Public Citizens for Children and Youth says while many experts see an investment in Pre-K education as the way to set youth on a path to success, that alone is not enough:

    Balka: Gains made during Pre-K need to be sustained by good schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade, they need to be sustained by safe neighborhoods, by access to services like recreation centers, libraries by caring adults in their lives

    Other advocates emphasize the importance of summer internships and employment opportunities for high school students to expose them to different careers.

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