Los Angeles to Host Largest National Gathering to Date on Citywide Strategies to Reengage High School Dropouts

Press Release
Press Release

Los Angeles, Calif. - On Thursday, December 12, city, education and state officials will gather to provide perspectives on how to reengage the approximately 100,000 youth and young adults in Los Angeles who have not graduated from high school.

The Leadership Perspectives on Reengagement Forum, sponsored by the National League of Cities, National Youth Employment Coalition and Zero Dropouts, comes a little more than a year after the city retrofitted its 13 YouthSource centers with a network of dropout reengagement counselors who work with disconnected youth.

The forum will also include the release of a new report from the National League of Cities (NLC) that presents nationwide models and strategies city leaders can pursue to help dropouts finish high school and move along a path to postsecondary education and good jobs.

The Leadership Perspectives on Reengagement Forum will take place during a convening of some 150 dropout reengagement experts from 22 cities across the nation - the largest such gathering of its kind to date. Collectively, dropout reengagement centers in 14 cities have reached out to 41,000 young people over one of the past two school years. Of those, 6,000 have re-enrolled, and 73 percent were still in school or had graduated one year later.

WHAT: Reengagement Plus Convening: Leadership Perspectives on Reengagement Forum

WHEN: Thursday, December 12, 2013; 9 a.m.-10 a.m. (breakfast available starting at 8 a.m.)

WHERE: Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Aspen Hall, 2215 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, Calif.


  • Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, Director of Education and Workforce Development, City of Los Angeles
  • Raul Bocanegra, Member, California Assembly
  • Michelle King, Deputy Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District 
  • Larry Frank, President, Los Angeles Trade Technical College

In recent years, efforts to prevent students from dropping out have paid off in significantly improved graduation rates both nationally and locally. Now city and education leaders across the country are focusing attention on the approximately 1.8 million young adults ages 16-21 who are not enrolled in school or have not finished their high school education.

"Getting our kids back into school and on the path to success is critical to their futures and to the neighborhoods and economy of our great city," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "I'm pleased to welcome the National League of Cities and this incredible group of local and national experts to Los Angeles, and look forward to exchanging ideas on how we can change young people's lives."

"The need is especially urgent in high-poverty urban areas such as Los Angeles, where we find large concentrations of disconnected youth," said Andrew Moore, senior fellow at the National League of Cities, which will release the report Reconnecting Youth through Dropout Reengagement Centers.

Research shows that many out-of-school youth want to return to school but are uncertain how to do so and fearful they will not succeed once they get there. "Helping these young people find alternative pathways to graduation - and promising futures in their communities and careers - is a critical challenge facing municipal leaders today," said Patrice Cromwell, director of economic development for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which supported development of the NLC report. "The Foundation is committed to supporting efforts that connect youth to opportunity and help set them on a path to success in life."

Representatives of the media may also participate in a YouthSource center site visit on Friday morning, December 13. The visit will allow for interaction and interviews with youth and counselors working in the center. For more information, contact Andrew Moore - moore@nlc.org.

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation provided support for the Reengagement Plus convening.

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