HICKORY, NC (WBTV)- Starting next school year, Hickory Public Schools and the Newton-Conover School System will both raise the dropout age from 16 to 18 years old. Both are part of a pilot program, approved by the General Assembly, to look at the feasibility of raising the age statewide.
Business leaders in Catawba County lobbied lawmakers for the change.
"The business community needs a better prepared work force," said Dean Proctor, who owns a major distribution company in the area. Proctor said it not only benefits the individual with a better job and higher wages, but lifts the community up as well.
Times have changed, he said, since students could dropout of school and find a job where they could make a good living.
"It's not the same nowadays," he said.
Factories and other places that used to recruit teenagers while they were in school don't exist anymore, said Proctor.