For audio of the Senator’s comments, please visit http://landrieu.senate.gov/mediacenter/upload/10.02.23_NYCP_Floor_statement.mp3
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., today spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate in support of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program and to introduce a Senate Resolution to create National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Day. The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, which Sen. Landrieu has long supported, is designed to redirect and mentor high school dropouts and give them educational and career opportunities.
Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) co-sponsored the Senate resolution.
“Youth ChalleNGe reaches out to kids between the ages of 16 and 18 who have given up on themselves, and have had their families give up on them,” said Sen. Landrieu in her floor speech. “They haven't been arrested yet. They haven't been incarcerated yet. They haven't gotten into trouble with drugs yet. But they are on the road in that dangerous direction. Then this program comes along and offers them an opportunity to take a different road, offers them an opportunity to change, and
I’m proud to say that since this program was started here in Congress and in partnership with governors and nonprofits around the country, we have graduated thousands of children from this program with almost a 95 percent success rate.”
The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program currently exists in 33 states, including Louisiana. There are three successful programs in Louisiana, the most in any one state, with 1,050 youths per year graduating from the program.
In 2009, Sen. Landrieu joined Sen. Lincoln in introducing legislation that increased the ratio of federal funding for Youth ChalleNGe programs from 60 percent to 75 percent. In 2008, the voluntary program was forced to turn away about 60 percent of their applicants due to lack of funds.
National statistics show that more than 74 percent of program graduates have earned their high school diploma or equivalency, 30 percent have gone on to college, 25 percent have entered the military and the remaining graduates have gained career focused employment.