On February 17, the New Jersey National Guard ChalleNGe Youth Program graduated 79 cadets. The 13th since group the program began. Acting Governor Donald DiFrancesco was the keynote speaker and Maj. Gen. Paul J. Glazar, The Adjutant General of New Jersey, hosted the ceremony.
The New Jersey ChalleNGe Youth Program is run by the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and is staffed primarily by the NJNG. ChalleNGe is a 22 week co-ed residential program which affords high school dropouts the opportunity to earn a GE diploma, get valuable job training, and perform community service projects while in a structured, disciplined environment. The program is designed to give i.at riskln youth a second chance to get their lives back on track and become productive, wage earning citizens. The ChalleNGe program is voluntary and applicants are carefully screened. All participants must be 16-18 years old, drug free, not on parole or probation, New Jersey residents, and United States citizens. The next ChalleNGe class is scheduled to begin in soon. Applications are now being accepted.
Many of the graduating cadets will have earned their G.E.D. (high school equivalency diploma) and some will be going on to college or entering military service -- which requires a high school diploma. Each cadet will also have earned an educational stipend which can be used to further their education or assist in additional vocational training.