Nov 6, 2020
The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program serves young people who are experiencing difficulty in traditional high school through a 5.5-month residential program. The authors of this report document the progress of program participants in 2019 and 2020; examine progress of participants in the Job ChalleNGe program, which provides additional training to Youth ChalleNGe graduates; and analyze the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on both programs.
The National Guard Youth Challenge (ChalleNGe) program serves young people who are experiencing difficulty in traditional high school through a quasi-military, 5.5-month residential program. The RAND Corporation's ongoing analyses of the ChalleNGe program are designed to meet multiple objectives. The first is to gather and analyze existing data from each ChalleNGe site to support the program's yearly report to Congress. To that end, the authors of this report document the progress of program participants (or "cadets") in 2019 and 2020.
Participation in the ChalleNGe program remains strong; nearly 13,000 young people entered the ChalleNGe program during 2019, and over 9,500 of those graduated. Among graduates, the vast majority left the program with a recognized credential or with credits toward high school graduation.
ChalleNGe is a well-established program with sites in the majority of states, but given the relatively short duration of the residential portion, the program provides limited career and technical training. In recent years, Job ChalleNGe programs have been established at six sites. Job ChalleNGe builds on the ChalleNGe model by providing additional training to ChalleNGe graduates. Job ChalleNGe provides this training through a 5.5-month residential program that focuses on developing career and technical skills.
The authors of this report provide initial implementation findings in this document and include a summary of planned future analyses to support ChalleNGe and Job ChalleNGe. Additionally, the authors examine some of the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on both programs.
Introduction: The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program
Data and Analyses, 2019 ChalleNGe Classes
Analyses in Support of Job ChalleNGe
Closing Thoughts, Recommendations, and Next Steps