U. S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Military Mary, today announced that she secured $135 million for the National Guard's Youth ChalleNGe program in the bill that funds the Department of Defense for FY2015. The program is a public-private partnership with the National Guard that intervenes with high school dropouts and youth that have lost their way and produces program graduates with the values, life skills, education and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens. The bill was approved today by the full Appropriations Committee.
Louisiana has three of the most prominent programs in the country, graduating nearly 1,400 cadets each year. They are located at Camp Minden, Camp Beauregard and Carville. Graduates from the program have a better likelihood of furthering their education and securing a job. More than 9,000 cadets graduate from the program each year across the country.
"One million students drop out of school, some at the age of 12, each year--more than the populations of New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette, combined! Few programs have the high success rate of the Youth ChalleNGe Program and help youth who have lost their way get back on track," Sen. Landrieu said. "Graduates of the ChalleNGe program are more likely to go on and earn a high school diploma, GED or obtain college credits. And, most importantly, they are more likely to secure a job to build a prosperous future for themselves, their families and their community. This program has the support of Democratic and Republican members of Congress and governor's across the country, and it is a sound investment in our youth and country's future."
Earlier this year, Sen. Landrieu announced that Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench agreed to serve as a national spokesman for the program.
Every year, nearly one million students drop out of school, costing our economy $1.8 billion in lost revenue annually. ChalleNGe, found in two independent studies by MDRC and RAND to be cost-effective and successful in reengaging youth to complete their high school education, is a voluntary, second-chance program for youth who've dropped out of school. ChalleNGe has helped more than 120,000 youth since its inception in 1993. NGYF provides scholarships and facilitates internships and job opportunities for its graduates.
About the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program
Nearly one million students in the U.S. leaves school before graduating. Helping more than 120,000 teens to date across the country turn their lives around, ChalleNGe -- a 17-month voluntary education and workforce development program that culminates in high school graduation or attainment of a GED -- is recognized as among the most cost-effective, highly rated programs of its kind for at-risk youth.
· An independent, multi-year study of the ChalleNGe by MRDC shows that high school diploma/GED attainment increases 29 percent, college attendance by 86 percent and annual earnings by 20 percent.
· An independent cost-benefit analysis by the RAND Corporation shows a 166 percent return on investment in ChalleNGe -- every dollar spent yielding a return of $2.66 in benefits to society.