Military Support for Youth Development

An Exploratory Analysis

by Beth J. Asch

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This report assesses existing evidence about the potential of military service and training as methods to prepare disadvantaged youth for productive roles in the work force and society. It describes the military training model, and the research evidence on effects of military experience on post-service earnings. The evidence reveals the benefits of military related training and education, no research consensus on whether veterans in general receive a positive or negative return to military service; for disadvantaged veterans, it suggests little if any effect. Results also indicate that while minorities are more likely than majority-group members to obtain skills in the Army that are transferable to the civilian sector, they are less likely to leave the Army and to use their educational benefits. The report discusses implications of these findings for future military-based youth development programs and highlights gaps in current knowledge that need to be filled to formulate policy.

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