High school education alone is not enough to earn a living wage.An educated woman is a powerful woman, but when a woman is also a mother, we also know that her opportunities (or lack thereof) will directly impact her children too.
We work with young mothers because stigma surrounding teen pregnancy is an additional barrier to obtaining a living wage. We can help them overcome those barriers so they will be able to persist with their education and create an avenue for her child to follow in her footsteps.
Parenting teens are one of the youth populations at highest risk for not finishing their high school education or pursuing a post-secondary education. Only 38% of young mothers graduate from high school and less than 2% of them complete college by the age of 30.
In California, those who don’t graduate from high school earn annually less than half of the amount considered the state’s living wage of $57,096. The challenges for young mothers who do graduate from high school often increase as they work to pursue their post-secondary education. Many support systems stop after high school graduation. Affordable and quality childcare, which may have been offered on high school campuses, now presents a tremendous barrier as most colleges don’t have childcare on campus.
As young women of color, our participants have even more barriers to overcome in continuing their education. Only 28% of Black students and 33% of Latinx students graduate college or are career-ready, as compared to 48% of White students and 57% of Asian students (Children Now). Teen Success, Inc. is expanding our work to ensure we can partner with young mothers as they overcome these challenges to their education, while also nurturing their child’s growth.
Teen Success, Inc. is now supporting all members through the completion of a post-secondary degree or certificate that will lead to a living wage. In this new post-secondary phase of our work, our participants will:
- Explore their post-secondary education options through visits to local community college campuses and career fairs;
- Have support as they work on their applications for admissions, financial aid, and scholarships;
- Continue to have their coaching sessions with their Advocate to mitigate barriers and ensure consistent school attendance;
- Participate in financial literacy workshops and training, and
- Continue developing their parenting skills so their children grow and thrive right alongside them.
As members begin their post-secondary studies, they will also be provided with educational stipends to help financially support them as they persist in their education. Studies have shown that educational stipends are the most equitable way to support students of color and give them the power to decide how to best use this support to further their education.