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How do successful companies sell their products? They provide a set of rules that if followed lead to the most success in selling their products. They continuously test the rules and modify them as times change. They train their sales staff to use the rules and they motivate the sales force with stretch goals and rewards for meeting and exceeding the goals.

How should people achieve success? They should follow any known rules for success in their endeavor. They should set stretch goals for themselves and work to meet them.

How do we decrease the percent of the population that are poor? We can set a goal to move them to the middle class, but if they do not know the rules to follow it just will not work. Moreover we can't do it, they have to do it! What we can do is provide them the environment and rules that work, and keep them up to date as time and things change. As for goals, most people will be motivated if they see a way and receive/perceive compensation for their efforts.

For many years researchers have reviewed our census data and developed rules to avoid poverty. The rules are really simple, but many do not know them until it is to late.

* Get a job, any full time job. If its a poor job keep it while looking for a better one.
* Get married as an adult and stay married. Use a respectful courtship to know
   each other before  marriage.
* Do not have a child out of wedlock, it will provide a life time of hurt for both you
   and the child.
* Complete your education.

It use to be, the average person completing high school was not going to be poor. But this rule has changed and will continue to change. You now must have a trade or an associate degree just to avoid poverty. Want to move to the middle class, the associate degree or job skill must be in a field that has demand and is not exportable. Jobs that have low demand and/or are exportable now require full degrees/advanced degrees and/or advanced job skills.

Most fifth graders know that $500,000.00 is a lot of money. How many fifth graders know that is also the average difference in lifetime earnings between a high school graduate and someone who has an associate degree or a job training certificate in a high demand non exportable field. Given the high High School drop out rate, it appears many do not have any facts on average earning verses education. Today, dropping out of High School is almost like volunteering to be a slave. (One of many examples: To enslave Poland during WWII, Hitler forbid their education past 4th grade.)

If we want more citizens to escape poverty and "increase transition to and through post secondary education," we have to make sure that they know the rules before they make mistakes. Early in grammar school each should know the rules to avoid poverty. Middle school should teach using the census data to identify the skills and education required to avoid poverty. High schools should be teaching how to use the data to pick careers with paths to middle and upper class. This has built in self motivation and will generate positive peer pressure.

You can bet that successful companies use the census data to plan their future. Any plan  to "increase transitions to and through postsecondary education" should include same. Furthermore this appears to be one of the highest ROI activities that one can implement.