Senate panel approves increased funding for Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy

LANSING, Mich.—Amendments championed by state Sen. Mike Nofs to increase funding for the Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy (MYCA), were approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The amendments, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Colbeck, chair of the State Police and Military Affairs subcommittee, and Sen. Howard Walker, chair of the School Aid and Department of Education subcommittee, authorize $1.5 million in funding to allow the academy to serve a greater number of at-risk youth.

“I really want to thank Senators Colbeck and Walker for their leadership on this issue and working with me to secure the necessary funding in their very tight budgets,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “This was truly a collaborative effort, as well as an excellent example of the Senate prioritizing limited resources on programs that have shown proven results. MYCA works, and that’s why I support it. ”

“The Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy is a worthwhile program that helps turn around the lives of kids who are struggling and prepares them for a life of success,” said Colbeck, R-Canton. “The Youth ChalleNGe program can be a lifeline for many of Michigan’s high school dropouts. Attendance at the academy improves their education and employment potential through the promotion of leadership, service to community, life coping skills and physical fitness.”

Sen. Walker echoed the importance of supporting programs that work.

“I’m a believer in this program,” said Walker, R-Traverse City. “With limited resources, we must focus on those programs that are getting results. I am pleased that Michigan has developed such a nationally regarded ChalleNGe program and am encouraged that more students will now be able to take advantage of the opportunities it provides.”

MYCA is a voluntary, 22-week, quasi-military residential program operated by the National Guard that is geared toward at-risk youth aged 16-19 who have dropped out of school or are at risk of dropping out. The program is funded through a 75 percent / 25 percent partnership of federal and state funding, respectively. It provides at-risk youth an alternative means to an education, where they learn discipline and important life skills to help turn their lives around and transition to successful adulthood.

Since its founding in 1999, MYCA has produced more than 2,000 cadet graduates from throughout Michigan.

For more information on the academy, please visit www.ngycp.org/site/state/mi.

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