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E.g., 10/04/2023
Shaping Our Futures: The Educational and Career Success of Washington State’s Immigrant Youth
June 2013

Shaping Our Futures: The Educational and Career Success of Washington State’s Immigrant Youth

Young adults who are immigrants or the children of immigrants have a mixed record of success in Washington State, with the performance of many English language learners lagging behind state averages even as the state’s immigrant youth have a relatively high level of college-degree attainment compared to other immigrants nationwide, this report finds.

In this report, MPI's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy (NCIIP) examines the high school completion, college access, and postsecondary success of immigrant youth (ages 16 to 26) in Washington State—where one in four young adults is an immigrant or child of an immigrant. Between 2001 and 2010 the state’s immigrant youth population grew by 51 percent — a far faster rate than the nation as a whole (14 percent).

The report provides one of the first cross-system analyses of the educational experiences of first-generation (foreign-born) and second-generation (U.S.-born with immigrant parents) youth in the state.  The report shows that the performance of many of the state’s 89,000 English Language Learners (ELLs) lags behind state averages. Only 53 percent of ELLs graduate from high school in four years, compared to 77 percent of all students.

The researchers find limited participation among ELLs and Latinos in courses that provide both high school and college credit: often thought to be an important strategy for promoting college access. And though the characteristics of ELLs vary greatly, data and accountability systems generally do not distinguish the needs of newly arrived immigrants and refugees from those of long-term ELLs, many of whom are U.S.-born students. At the same time, the authors point to Washington State school districts that have demonstrated substantial progress in developing curricula and in training teachers to meet the educational needs of immigrant youth. 

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. Study Approach

III. Population and Context

IV. High School Achievement and Completion

V. Preparation for College and Careers

VI. Adult Education as an On-Ramp to Postsecondary Success

VII. Persistence and Success in Community and Technical Colleges

VIII. Conclusion and the Road Ahead