Metro United Way Staff

Education is the foundation for a child’s success in work and life, and high school graduation is a major milestone toward achieving that success. In fact, high school dropouts are four times more likely to be unemployed as those who have completed four or more years of college; sadly only 3/4 of students nationally graduate on time and the statistics are similar for our region.

Students only spend 20% of their lives in school, so it’s important that learning continue outside of the classroom. By establishing a system that helps steer local students toward high quality out-of-school time programs, Metro United Way hopes to provide a stronger educational foundation to help decrease the high school drop-out rate and increase college degrees, thus benefitting the entire community in the long run.

Out-of-School Time - Improving Local High School Graduation Rates

High School Graduation By The Numbers

    • Nearly 1 out of every 5 students will not graduate on time, and nearly 1,200 students in our community will drop out of school this year.

    • People who fail to complete high school by age 20 are 50% more likely to have sporadic employment.

    • Kentuckians who have not graduated from high school earn $7,800 less per year than those with a diploma or GED.

    • Although the state inmate population is less than 20% of the overall population, 50% of that population does not have a high school diploma.

    • More than 6,200 students dropped out of Kentucky's high schools in 2010; the lost lifetime earnings in Kentucky for that class of dropouts alone totals more than $4.2 billion.

    • If the high school students who dropped out of the class of 2011 nationally had graduated, the nation's economy would have benefitted from the nearly $154 billion in additional income over the course of their lifetimes.

Quality Out-of-School Time Programs

Metro United Way is committed to ensuring that students all across our community graduate high school in order to succeed, and we are leading the way through our key partnerships to create a premier out-of-school (OST) system that advances our children’s learning outside of the classroom.

Quality OST programs are universally recognized as a critical tool to help students graduate on time, contributing to key performance indicators including attendance, engagement in learning, test scores and grades. Here’s some of what we are doing to ensure that students in our community graduate high school on time prepared for college, work and life:




BLOCS is a community partnership - founded by Metro United Way, Jefferson County Pubic Schools (JCPS) and Louisville Metro Government - that connects youth to programs, connects programs to one another, identifies gaps in service, works to build system-wide quality through community trainings, provides professional opportunities for youth workers and measures the program quality.


All Metro United Way programs are now assessed using the Youth Program Quality Intervention System. Agencies can benchmark their level of quality and are provided resources and technical assistance to make improvements based on results. We are also using the Survey of Academic and Youth Outcomes to measure and track the impact of the out-of-school time programs on the youth served.


We are working with JCPS on advocacy efforts at two local middle schools - Olmstead North and Olmstead South - to engage parents and caregivers in their child’s education and soften their transition to high school.


We provide annual funding to support 29,400 kids at over 30 youth programs across the region, and offer annual trainings and financial assistance to summer youth programs and learning opportunities in order to prevent summer learning loss.


At times parents need help locating after school, summer and out-of-school programs. Metro United Way's 2-1-1 help referral service directs people looking for resources to the appropriate service provider, you can find the most up-to-date information on programs available to you by calling 2-1-1, texting your zip code to 898211, or clicking here.

Search Hints: If searching the online database, you can use keywords such as "youth enrichment programs," "day camps," or "OST" to return the most relevant results.



Research proves that caring volunteers working with students of all ages have the power to help kids boost academic achievement and put young people on track.