Ensuring that students have the opportunity to be engaged in the workforce is an important and valuable option for some high school students. According to sociology professor Jeylan T. Mortimer, if students are able to work even fifteen hours or less, they will learn how to deal with stress and find balance in their lives. Furthermore, these students can learn on-the-job life skills as well as utilize the collaborative and critical-thinking skills that are ideally part of their classroom experience every day.
Another benefit of identifying workforce opportunities for students in the community involves the possibility of developing mentors for at-risk youth. At-risk students who are unable to find positive and meaningful relationships are susceptible to behaviors that will ultimately be counterproductive in terms of grades, attendance, and graduation. Therefore, schools and communities have the opportunity to have an at-risk student engaged in something productive while also potentially developing meaningful mentors. According to the National Mentoring Partnership, young adults who are at risk for falling off track but have a mentor are 55 percent more likely to enroll in college, 78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly, 90 percent more interested in becoming a mentor themselves, and 130 percent more likely to hold leadership positions.