A High School Dropout's Midlife Hardships

This story is very familiar to alot of people. We are all guilty of making decisions or choices today and not thinking about the consequences for tomorrow. So many people limit their options based on those decisions. At least for now, there is a program in his state that offers training and GED classes. But what happens to the 40 million people when all the funding is cut for these programs?

Today, the people who seem to be hurting the most in our sputtering economy are dropouts in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

Despite their work experience, some can't even apply for a new job without proof that they completed high school. One man has thought a lot about his education and the decisions he made as a teenager.

Kenny Buchanan, 44, has lived in the coal-rich mountains of Schuylkill County, Pa., all his life. He's happy to have work after being jobless for more than a year.

Buchanan recently found work at an aluminum manufacturing plant.

"I'm a processor," he says. "We make aluminum for propane tanks, runways — aluminum runways for the U.S. Air Force."

It's not a permanent job yet. Buchanan is still on probation. It's the eighth job he's had in the last five years.

"With a wife and two kids, it's been rough," he says, all because of a decision he made 26 years ago.

"[In] ninth grade, I dropped out of school. I was 18. I flunked twice, I had no interest, and I told my mom 'cause I was living at home at the time, I said, 'I'm done, I'm not going back to school,'" he says.

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