Having a high school diploma in the U.S. means higher potential earnings and employment trajectories. But it’s difficult for historically underserved students. This is Jose’s story.

We’ve all heard the phrase “stay in school.” The importance of education cannot be overstated. But that remains difficult for historically underserved students to achieve the same graduation rates as their peers. Not having a diploma then continues to negatively impact their employment and earnings potential down the line.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the unemployment rate substantially increases for individuals with less education, which also impacts median weekly earnings.

There is a saying: “Life is what happens to you while you’re making plans.” We can all remember how we felt in high school: the plans we made for after graduation, the things we were going to do, to become… and then life happens, and decisions are made that change your life’s trajectory.

The good news is you can always get back on the right track, just like Jose.

Jose, the son of Mexican immigrants, left high school in 10th grade to work for his uncle in the construction industry. He was content for a couple of years, but he later realized that he had a different lifelong dream: join the US military.

Five tips for starting an LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group

Brian McCabe, Global Head of Digital Communications and Co-founder of Q+, the LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group (ERG) at the Adecco Group, shares tips for successfully starting an ERG in large organisations.

You can’t, however, join the military without a diploma (preferred) or GED.

Jose’s onsite manager at Adecco told him about the Adecco Group US Foundation’s high school completion program, in partnership with Penn Foster. He was unable to pay even the discounted tuition, so the Foundation gave Jose a full scholarship. He hit the ground running, soaking up math and history courses, as he headed towards achieving his dreams.

Recently, Jose graduated with his GED and became the first of his siblings to receive a high school diploma.

“I’ve never had anyone to really push me to achieve anything, and I’ve never been so proud of myself,” Jose said.

The Adecco Group US Foundation helps people find their path through programs that contribute to economic mobility, career progression, and work equality. Education matters. After learning that none of Jose’s three siblings graduated from high school either, the Adecco Group US Foundation made the decision to also provide scholarships for his siblings as well to make it a family affair.

The lack of a high school diploma is truly a barrier to hire for many American workers and want to do all we can to create greater economic opportunity for all.


  • Nearly 40% of all jobs in the US require a high school diploma
  • Your chance of being employed rises by 33% when you get your high school diploma
  • With a diploma, you’re likely to earn 40% more income than someone without one
  • The U.S. Census Bureau estimates a person with a high school diploma will earn $9,634 more per year than a high school drop out
  • A recent study shows that 47% of high school dropouts surveyed said that the lack of a high school diploma made it harder for them to find a good job

If you, or someone you know, needs their high school diploma and is truly committed to achieving this goal, contact the foundation at info@adeccogroupfoundationus.org .

We don’t want you to miss out on any of our insights, research or news. Create a personalised alert to ensure that you get the information you want direct to your inbox. If you have already registered and wish to change your preferences, login here

I am interested in:

Please read the Terms of Use, Privacy and Cookie Policy

Related

News and Research