YCP Press Release # 31 - Youth Challenge pilots STEM curriculum program
May 05, 2015
Youth Challenge pilots STEM curriculum program
By: Megan Ready
PINEVILLE, LA – Earlier this year, The National Guard Youth Foundation (NGYF), a non-profit organization designed to address the country’s drop out crisis through National Guard Youth Challenge Programs (YCP), partnered with global engineering and design firm Michael Baker International and EverFi, a leading education technology company, to launch an interactive education initiative to help meet the job market’s growing demand for employees with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills.
The new initiative provides STEM training resources to approximately 1,800 of Youth Challenge Program participants across the country. 14 Youth Challenge Program locations nationwide were selected to begin the pilot phase. The YCP at Camp Beauregard in Pineville, was one of the 14 programs chosen, and implemented the STEM curriculum course on May 1, 2015.
Specifically, YCP Camp Beauregard implemented EverFi’s “Radius- STEM Readiness” program which focuses on computer science technologies taught through interactive lessons. Students will also gain an understanding of career opportunities in STEM related fields through exposure to this curriculum.
Maria Vibandor, implementation manager with EverFi’s Gulf Coast Team, assisted faculty and cadets last Friday when Camp Beauregard officially launched the course. 22 students were selected to participate in the program, and from this point forward will be led by Debra Drayton, a YCP Camp Beauregard teacher, for the next 5 weeks, as they complete 16 course ‘missions’.
The Radius-STEM Readiness course is a web-based program that uses online gaming and simulations to teach critical technology and coding skills, ignite interest in STEM, and expose students to STEM opportunities that they might never have dreamed were within their reach. The course features 16 modules that incorporate the real-world application of math and basic computer science skills in a secret-agent themed course. Engaging, interactive lessons focus on skill building and highlighting the career possibilities that STEM education can unlock.
According to the U.S. News/Raytheon STEM index, the STEM job market in the United States has grown by more than 30 percent, from 12.8 million STEM jobs in 2000 to 16.8 million in 2013. Nationwide, 27 states operate 35 Youth Challenge Programs, and graduate 9,300 young men and women every year. YCP is a proved program for youth who are not succeeding in the traditional classroom setting.
“We are dedicated to fostering the development and growth of the next generation of scientists, planners, architects, and engineers, who are so vital to our country’s future” said Kurt Bergman, CEO of Michael Baker International. “This investment ensures that driven and hardworking young adults can pursue career paths they are passionate about. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the National Guard Youth Foundation and expanding the prevalence of STEM education opportunities across the nation.”
“EverFi is proud to bring our STEM education course to Challenge participants,” said EverFi Founder and CEO Tom Davidson. “Through our partnership with the National Guard Youth Foundation, this technology is reaching cadets and inspiring them to be the creators and innovators of tomorrow”.
Colonel Michael Borrel, director of Educational Programs for The Louisiana National Guard stated, “As the demand for skilled workers within Louisiana industries continues to increase, preparing YCP graduates to meet that demand is crucial. The Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program at Camp Beauregard is proud to have been selected as one of the locations to implement this exciting STEM program through EverFi.”
The Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program offers 16-18 years olds an opportunity to improve their lives through participation in an innovative, alternative school which emphasizes leadership, self discipline, and responsibility while working to earn a high school equivalency diploma.
The Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program aims to produce program graduates with the values, life skills, education, and self-discipline necessary in order to succeed as productive citizens, and is administered to participants at no cost. All needs such as meals, bedding, classroom instruction, and uniforms are provided free of charge. This award-winning program has been recognized as one of the nation’s most effective and cost efficient programs for targeting at-risk youth.
Since 1994, more than 100,000 cadets have graduated nationwide with more than 19,000 being from Louisiana. Typically, Louisiana graduates approximately 1,400 teens a year from three locations: Camp Beauregard near Alexandria, Camp Minden near Shreveport and The Gillis W. Long Center near Baton Rouge. More than 80 percent of teens that graduate this two-phase program go on to further their education, join the work force or enlist into the military.