San Joaquin ChalleNGe Academy approved by governor

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

SACRAMENTO –  A bill by Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman to establish in San Joaquin County a new National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program, the first of its kind in Northern California, has been signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program is designed to prevent at-risk youth from dropping out of high school. The program has a five-month residential phase followed by 12 months of mentoring. There are currently two ChalleNGe programs in California – one in San Luis Obispo and the other in Los Alamitos. Between them, those academies graduate an average of 800 students a year.

A study in 2012 by the RAND Corporation found that ChalleNGe provides a $2.66 return on every $1 dollar spent.

Eggman’s bill, Assembly Bill 1518, directs the Adjutant General to establish a ChalleNGe Program to serve at-risk teens in San Joaquin. Eggman had already secured $1.5 million for the program in the state budget, drawing another $4.5 million in matching funds from the federal government.

The ChalleNGe academy planned for San Joaquin would be chartered by the San Joaquin County Office of Education, and would serve an estimated 400 students annually. An exact location for the academy is still being considered.

For more information on National Guard youth programs, including ChalleNGe, visit www.ngyf.org.