The National Guard Youth Foundation (NGYF) and Michael Baker International, a global leader in engineering, consulting, planning, technical and professional services, are pleased to announce the results of a successful pilot program that engaged participants of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Data from the pilot program – executed at 15 ChalleNGe programs across the country – show the course significantly increased awareness of and interest in STEM careers, particularly among those underrepresented in STEM – minorities and girls.
“Programs like this are often the spark that leads young men and women to discover their passion for science and can put them on the path to promising STEM careers,” said Kurt Bergman, CEO of Michael Baker International.“It’s important to bring STEM education to as many students as possible and, as a company with an employee population heavily focused on STEM, we are honored to support the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program.”
In its first phase, the Radius-STEM Readiness course, developed by leading education technology company EverFi, has engaged more than 600 ChalleNGe cadets in over 3,000 hours of learning in areas such as HTML coding, unit conversion, probability, linear equations, functions and cryptography. The web-based course uses online gaming and simulations to teach technology and coding skills, ignite interest in STEM, and expose students to STEM careers that they might never have dreamed were within their reach.
Of the participants, 56 percent represented ethnic minorities, while 24 percent were female. More than half of the participants reported that they were not aware of STEM careers or were not encouraged in STEM by their community prior to participating in the program. According to a post-program survey, 52 percent of participating minorities and 54 percent of participating females reported they would like to have a job in STEM as a result of the program, with civil engineering being reported as one of the top five career paths they’d like to take.
“We are grateful to have significant support from Michael Baker International, which has enabled us to provide EverFi’s Radius-STEM Readiness course to ChalleNGe cadets and expose them – many of whom would not have the opportunity otherwise – to career opportunities in the STEM field,” said Allyson Solomon, president of NGYF.
The STEM program’s 15 pilot sites included:
- Alaska Military Youth Academy in Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska;
- Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy in Grays Knob, Kentucky;
- Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy in Ft. Knox, Kentucky;
- Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Laurel, Maryland;
- Ft. Gordon Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Ft. Gordon, Georgia;
- Hawaii Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Hilo, Hawaii;
- Camp Beauregard Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Pineville, Louisiana;
- Freestate ChalleNGe Academy in Gunpowder, Maryland;
- Montana Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Dillon, Montana;
- Puerto Rico ChalleNGe Academy in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico;
- Commonwealth ChalleNGe Academy in Virginia Beach, Virginia;
- Washington Youth Academy in Bremerton, Washington;
- Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy in Kingwood, West Virginia;
- Texas ChalleNGe Academy in Sheffield, Texas; and
- South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Eastover, South Carolina.
Currently, nearly 600 additional cadets are taking the STEM course this fall. NGYF plans to expand the STEM curriculum to all 36 ChalleNGe programs across the country.
About the National Guard Youth Foundation
The National Guard Youth Foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to addressing the nation’s school dropout crisis by giving youth a second chance through the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. NGYF advocates for and supports ChalleNGe, run by the National Guard; raises awareness of the impact that the school dropout crisis has on our society, economy and national security; and provides ChalleNGe graduates with scholarships and career support to help them continue on their path of success. For more information, visit www.ngyf.org.
About the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program
Conducted at 36 academies across the country, the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is operated in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Defense, National Guard Bureau, state governments and local sites. The program consists of a 5 1/2-month residential phase framed around eight core components: academic excellence, responsible citizenship, physical fitness, leadership/followership, job skills, service to the community, health and hygiene and life coping skills, and a 12-month post residential phase during which mentors continue to provide guidance and support to graduates.
Helping more than 130,000 teens to date turn their lives around, ChalleNGe is recognized as among the most cost-effective, highly rated programs of its kind for youth who have dropped out of school. An independent, multi-year study of the program by MDRC shows that high school diploma/ GED attainment increased by 29%; college attendance increased by 86% and annual earnings increased by 20%. An independent cost-benefit analysis by the RAND Corporation shows a 166% return on investment in the program – every dollar spent yielded a return of $2.66 in benefits to society.
About Michael Baker International
Michael Baker International is a leading global provider of engineering and consulting services, which include planning, architectural, environmental, construction, program management, and full life-cycle support services as well as information technology and communications services and solutions. The company provides its comprehensive range of services and solutions in support of U.S. federal, state, and municipal governments, foreign allied governments, and a wide range of commercial clients. Michael Baker International has more than 6,000 employees in more than 90 locations across the U.S. and internationally. To learn more visit www.mbakerintl.com.
EverFi, Inc. is the education technology innovator that empowers learners with the skills that prepare them to be successful in life. With backing from some of technology’s most innovative leaders including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, and Twitter founder Evan Williams, EverFi has built the most comprehensive critical skills platform focused on Financial Education, Digital Citizenship, Cyberbullying, STEM Readiness, Entrepreneurship, Alcohol Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness. The EverFi Education Network is powered by over 1,000 partner organizations across all 50 states and Canada and has certified over 12 million learners. Learn more at www.everfi.com.