Early findings from an ongoing evaluation of a residential, military-style program aimed at “reclaiming the lives” of teenage dropouts suggest that the program is having positive impacts.
Developed in 1993 by the National Guard Bureau in the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Guard Youth Challenge Program serves young people ages 16 to 18 who dropped out of school and are not employed.
To evaluate the program, researchers from MDRC of New York surveyed 1,000 young people who had been randomly assigned to 10 program sites around the country.
When the participants were nine months into the 17-month-long program, the researchers found, 46 percent of the program group had a high school diploma or a General Educational Development credential, compared with 10 percent of the control group. Program participants were also more likely than the comparison group to be working or enrolled in college, to be physically fit, and to report feeling up to meeting life’s challenges. A final report is due out later this year.
A version of this article appeared in the March 18, 2009 edition of Education Week