LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Around 6,000 kids graduated from high school last year or left Michigan before graduation, but 6,000 students didn’t show up to make up for those who left.

So, what’s going on?

“Most of it is related to the birthrate decline in Michigan,” said Don Wotruba, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of School Boards.

Additionally, declining school enrollment is an issue in Michigan. It’s not a unique problem to the Great Lakes State, it’s a worldwide issue.

The COVID-19 pandemic also left its mark, as the state is still waiting to recoup from the lost of 62,000 students during the pandemic.

“We had people who left the state completely and we had kids who are off the radar. They haven’t gone to charters, they havens gone to on line school or a private school,” said Wotruba. “They’ve disappeared.”

But how can Michigan recover from those who have left?

According to Wotruba, the answer is for state lawmakers to adopt state policies that will attract those 20-year-olds who can go anywhere to get a job.

He also said that there needs to be better retention for individuals graduating from Michigan schools.

Right now, 40% of graduates are walking off the stage and into another state.