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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