The 44 young men and women who received certificates were all high school dropouts, kids who for various reasons couldn’t, or wouldn’t, follow the normal path to achieving a high school diploma. Until Thursday, they had been part of a grim national statistic: the 1.2 million students who each year drop out of high school for good.
Each of them found a way into a program, Catapult Career Starters, which is funded by the Passaic County Workforce Development Center. Catapult, which has offices in Passaic and Clifton, offers classes to prepare students for the high school equivalency exam, job training, and counseling. The program is open to legal residents 21 years and under and is free.