I had the honor to sit down with Pete Moses the CEO of the Children’s Aid Society, the largest and oldest non-profit in New York City. Pete has a better perspective on young people than anyone I have ever met. Pete opened my eyes to the realities facing the younger generation. For instance, Pete shared that in New York City, 29% of kids live below the poverty line, despite being the richest city in the world. Even more stunning, 50% of the city’s kids do not graduate high school. Fifty percent means 100,000 students a year drop out and can’t fully participate in the new economy.

A reality since the 70s, Pete thinks we’re sitting on a powder keg with the fuse lit. Why do so many kids fail to graduate? Why are we failing our children? New York City, according to Pete, chooses not to see the big picture, narrowing its view to test taking in English, math, and science. These skills only get you in the game. Skills like responsibility, creativity, and team building give a broader range of life opportunities.

Like a smoking habit, Pete believes society thinks it can get away with ignoring the problem, but at some point, there will be consequences. We share the opinion that fixing the problem will require a community-wide effort. Pete and I hold out hope that more businesses will invest in training young people, seeing it as an ROI for the next decade.