McNerney Calls for Funding of Program that Helps At-Risk Youths

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In an effort to help teenagers that have dropped out of high school and instead provide them with life skills, Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) has sent a letter to the U.S. House Appropriations Committee seeking additional funding. A cost-benefit analysis conducted by RAND Corporation determined that it is cost-effective, with a return on investment of $2.66 for every dollar spent.

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) wrote to the Subcommittee on Defense of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee today, requesting that additional funding be allocated for the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program.  The program targets teenagers who have dropped out of high school and provides them with the life skills and education needed to help them turn their lives around.

“In Stockton, a high percentage of our youth do not graduate high school.  I am committed to helping our most at-risk youth find a constructive path to a better future.  Programs like Youth ChalleNGe provide these teens with the skills they need to go onto college and find employment,” said Congressman McNerney.

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program consists of a 5 1/2-month quasi-military Residential Phase conducted in residential facilities located on active or closed National Guard bases, a National Guard training center, or a school campus, followed by a 12-month Post-Residential Phase with mentoring.  Each class typically accommodates an average of 100 participants and has produced approximately 113,000 graduates since its inception in 1993.

The Youth ChalleNGe program has been statistically proven to be one of the Nation’s most effective means for prevention of delinquency and involvement in criminal activities.  A cost-benefit analysis conducted by RAND Corporation determined that it is cost-effective, with a return on investment of $2.66 for every dollar spent.  The program currently operates at 34 sites in 27 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  It is funded through a federal/state partnership, with the federal government contributing 75 percent.

“The Youth ChalleNGe Program is a great example of how the federal government can partner with state and local entities to produce concrete and positive results.  Increasing the investment in this program will help us to reach even more of our youth and help set them on a path for a productive future,” said Congressman McNerney.

 

More on The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program

 

This program gives candidates a physical fitness regimen, instills a code of conduct, has them complete community service, and provides an academic program that prepares candidates for the G.E.D. given at the end of the Residential Phase. Candidates also develop a Life Plan that outlines their 12-month Post-Residential plan. The 12-month Post-Residential Phase ensures that mentors, matched with cadets during the Residential Phase, play a critical role in ensuring their continued success in college, the military or other opportunities.

  • Cadets must be drug-free, not in trouble with the law and high school dropouts. The program consists of a 5 1/2-month quasi-military Residential Phase followed by a 12-month Post-Residential Phase.
  •  Each ChalleNGe program oversees its own admissions process. Prospective cadets should contact local programs directly to learn about specific application requirements and deadlines.
  • Every ChalleNGe program offers academic classes. Many youth are able to obtain their GED during the 5 1/2-month Residential Phase, but in order to graduate from the program it is expected that all youth raise their math and reading levels.
  • This program is offered free of charge to its participants.
  • The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program began as a ten-state pilot program in 1993 by an act of Congress. In 1998, following a comprehensive evaluation, Congress approved the ChalleNGe program as a permanent program. Since then, the program has grown to include 33 sites in 27 states and Puerto Rico.

“We applaud Congressman Jerry McNerney’s support of this critical program and his recognition of how important the National Guard’s Youth ChalleNGe program is for at-risk youth in California, especially California’s Central Valley.  This funding would allow the California National Guard to assist at-risk youth to acquire the fundamental education and life skills they need to help turn their lives around.  I want to personally thank Congressman McNerney for his support and advocacy of our young adults.” – Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, Adjutant General, California National Guard

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