LANSING, Mich. - Michigan's dropout problem is exacerbated by the loss of industrial jobs that once allowed students to quit school and still make a good living, according to an economics professor cited in the Detroit Free Press.

Andrew Sum, also the director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, told attendees at the Michigan Dropout Prevention Summit that, "Michigan used to have among the most well-paid dropouts," the Free Press reported. Sum also described the gap in lifetime earnings between those with and without a college degree, and said dropouts are more likely to live in poverty or be incarcerated.

The summit was conducted to present the findings of statewide hearings on dropout causes and potential solutions, according to the Free Press. Gov. Jennifer Granholm said that participants should become "educational revolutionaries," but also that she does not support softening the state's new high school graduation requirements.

The Detroit Free Press, "Summit deals with 20,000 dropouts a year in Michigan," Oct. 20, 2008

Michigan Education Digest, "United Way starts program to curb dropout rates," Aug. 13, 2008