Feb 28, 2012
Why the National Guard's Youth ChalleNGe Program for High School Dropouts is a Solid Social Investment
Dropping out, Opting in
Why the National Guard’s Youth ChalleNGe Program for high school dropouts is a solid social investment
High school dropouts are more likely than graduates to commit crimes, abuse drugs and alcohol, have children out of wedlock, earn low wages, be un- or underemployed, and experience poor health. But individuals and families aren’t the only ones who suffer: Society bears costs, too, paying for dropouts’ increased dependency on welfare, increased criminal activity, and decreased engagement in community service.
RAND researchers studying the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program — an intensive residential and mentoring program for qualified dropouts ages 16 to 18 — found that the benefits associated with the program more than repay society’s investment in it.
Time a cadet spends in residence at a base or training center
Chance that a cadet will get a GED, compared with nonparticipants
Time a cadet spends in a post-residential mentoring relationship
Change in a cadet’s monthly wages, compared with nonparticipants
Program cost per cadet, in terms of operating and opportunity costs
Program benefits per cadet, in terms of additional lifetime earnings, reduced social welfare dependency and criminal activity, and increased community service