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Lunch Recap - Ryan Oelrich with Priority Spokane
Ryan Oelrich presenting at INBA August lunch. Photo: Northern Exposurers Photo.
Ryan Oelrich presenting at INBA August lunch.

Last Wednesday, INBA was host to Ryan Oelrich of Priority Spokane for our August Networking Lunch. Held at Spokane Valley Event center, and catered by Red Rock Catering, this lunch boasted one of our largest audiences so far, with almost 50 combined members and guests. Ryan is a dedicated advocate for at risk youth in Spokane County, and his efforts have certainly not gone unnoticed.

Ryan received numerous rounds of applause during his presentation, the most enthusiastic of which in response to his announcement that Priority Spokane has driven Spokane’s High School graduation rates up from 60% to more than 90%. How has Ryan’s team accomplished such a dramatic boost in graduation rates? He attributes the results to Priority Spokane’s data driven process, but anyone given the opportunity to listen to him speak will instantly understand that passion and a strong sense of purpose are the real drive behind this organization.

“At risk youth will become the leaders of tomorrow, insists Ryan, “but only if we give them the chance.” Since achieving such a marked success with Spokane’s high school graduation rates, Priority Spokane is refocusing on mental health and homelessness, two of the greatest risk factors for youth. Priority Spokane aims to tackle these issues by stabilizing the students at risk of dropping out by aiding their families and support systems.

Risk factors for youth are calculated based on a large number of variables. Although this data drives their impressive results, Ryan says that he likes to sit down with at least one of the students that he has worked with each month, to remind him that the data represents real people.

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