Just what are people with only high school supposed to do? This is not Europe where govt pays for you to go to college. Many poor families cannot afford college and need jobs which can be done with a high school education.
Votechs. The US needs to go to a more European model where students pick either a college track or a technical skills track. Maybe slightly modify it to where they split the last 2 years of high school, and make the first 2 years a much more general education, ie liberal arts, math, and life skills like basic accounting etc. After the second year if you want to go the college track you can take more advanced sciences, math, literature, etc; if you want the technical track you can start taking classes specializing in mechanics, welding, shop class, nursing, AMT, whatever. Have some classes in house and for others pair up with local (certified and approved) vocational schools or community colleges. Push federal funding for votechs and community colleges (which all happen to be cheaper than 4 year institutions) with better regulated and tracked job placement-you could even go so far as to offer internships/coops/apprenticeships with local companies or unions to help with job placement once graduated. This keeps people who either shouldn't, can't, or won't go to college from going and racking up large debts while giving them another way to obtain a career that offers a fairly decent living wage (on up to exceedingly good wage depending on field/skills/experience in the case of some vocations such as AMT, welding, or nursing).
Now, of course there are always some people that don't even have the ability or desire to go through votech schools. In these cases that's where your burger flipping or menial jobs come in, supplemented with a little (or more, depending on situation and actual ability to work) safety net support. Couple in easy to access job retraining programs which tie in to vocational and technical fields so that older people who have been laid off or are otherwise jobless have opportunities to pivot to another field instead of relying on multiple minimum wage jobs or gig economy jobs and you have solved both the jobs issue and the mounting costs of college education.