HARRISBURG, PA — Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) recently announced the passage of a bill that the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, which he chairs, supported. It will provide an opportunity for young adults ages 16-18 who have dropped out of school to earn their GED.
“Last summer, I toured Maryland’s Freestate ChalleNGe Academy, which is a 17-month program that is operated by the Maryland National Guard. Participants shared how they felt the program saved them from gang involvement, drug dealing and crime,” Barrar said. “The program gives young people who are experiencing challenges an opportunity for success.”
Act 51 of 2018, drafted by Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York), offers assistance in obtaining a high school diploma and improving life skills through supervised work experience and leadership development. It cannot be mandated by a judge; it is only open to those who volunteer.
Because the program is 75 percent funded by the federal government, Pennsylvania is only responsible for 25 percent. Compared with juvenile correction costs, the program will provide significant savings to society.
Currently, 27 states offer at least one form of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program.
Source: Representative Stephen E. Barrar, 160th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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