Approximately 9.3% of Missourians over the age of twenty-five do not have a high school diploma or equivalency. Higher educational attainment is often associated with more job opportunities, higher income and reduced poverty. States also benefit from increased tax revenue and reduced spending on crime, healthcare and welfare programs.
In 2017, House Bill 93 authorized a state approved nonprofit to open and operate four adult high schools across the state to help Missourians over the age of 21 finish their high school diplomas and obtain industry recognized credentials.
Senate Bill 139 would establish a performance-funded Workforce Diploma Program for Missourians over the age of 21 who have not yet obtained a high school diploma. Approved adult education providers would only be paid when students achieve academic (e.g., high school diploma) and employability (e.g., industry-recognized credentials) milestones.
Data reporting and program evaluation in states with workforce diploma programs will be central to identifying successes and addressing barriers to meeting student and workforce needs.