WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), sent a letter to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau advocating for the establishment of a National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program (NGYCP) in the state of Nevada in order to engage at risk youth. Rosen provided the letter to the Nevada National Guard for their application to establish the program.

“NGYCP gives a second chance to thousands of disadvantaged youth and young adults who take the initiative to better their lives. Since its inception in 1993, the program has grown from ten to thirty-nine programs nation-wide,” wrote Senator Rosen. “I have strongly supported NGYCP during my tenure in Congress, and led a letter this year with more than a dozen of my Senate colleagues to Senate Appropriators urging robust funding of this critically important program.”

Read the full text of the letter below:

Dear General Lengyel:

I write in support of establishing a National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program (NGYCP) in the State of Nevada, a proven intervention program for at-risk youth.

NGYCP gives a second chance to tousands of disadvantaged youth and young adults who take the initiative to better their lives. Since its inception in 1993, the program has grown from ten to thirty-nine programs nation-wide. The program teaches participants skills based on eight core components: Academic Excellence, Life Coping Skills, Job Skills, Health and Hygiene, Responsible Citizenship, Service to the Community, Leadership, and Physical Fitness. National Guard cadre provide cadets with discipline, mentorship, and assistance in earning their high school diploma or GED.

The program’s results speak for themselves. While a quarter of America’s high school freshmen will not graduate in four years, NGYCP has graduated over 185,000 of our nation’s high school dropouts.  In 2018, the program graduated 11,500 16 to 18-year-olds nationally, which afforded many of the participants the opportunity to earn a high school diploma or GED. Nevada has a current graduation rate of 81% (2017-18), a tremendous improvement from the 63% graduation rate in 2011-12. Nonetheless, 4,000 Nevadans will not graduate from high school this year alone, twelfth worst in the nation per capita. And while 78 percent of Black students nationwide graduate high school, less than 68 percent of those in Nevada leave school with a diploma in hand.

In addition to being effective, the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is a good steward of taxpayer dollars. A 2012 RAND study found that every dollar spent on the program results in a return of $2.66 in labor market earnings – a 166 percent return on investment. This “is considerably higher than that estimated for other rigorously evaluated programs that seek to alter the life course of disadvantaged youth and young adults.”

I have strongly supported NGYCP during my tenure in Congress, and led a letter this year with more than a dozen of my Senate colleagues to Senate Appropriators urging the robust funding of this critically important program. NGYCPs have start-up costs of only $3-4 million each, and Nevada’s Legislature recently approved the required twenty-five percent funding match to implement a program of its own. Now is therefore the perfect time to establish a NGYCP in Nevada.

Thank you for your continued commitment to our National Guard and this proven intervention program for at-risk youth. I look forward to working with you to establish a program in Nevada.

Sincerely,