Friday June 12, 2009
What is it?
The Patriot Academy is a new Army National Guard (ARNG) program launched on June 1, 2009 at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center (MUTC), a full-immersion 180-acre contemporary urban training center. The Patriot Academy program has Soldiers complete Basic Combat Training (BCT) and then perform Title 10 Active Duty for Operational Support (ADOS) while completing high school equivalency training, additional military training, and life skills training.
What has the ARNG done?
The ARNG has set up a Phase I with 60 Soldiers, a Phase II with 250 Soldiers, and a Phase III with 500 Soldiers. The basic concept for this program came from research that indicated 500,000 students dropped out of high school in 2006. These former students joined a group of over 3 million American youth between the ages of 16 and 24 without a high school diploma.
What continued efforts does the ARNG have planned for the future?
As the ARNG progresses through the program to Phase III, the ARNG hopes to graduate 500 Soldiers annually. Further expansion at MUTC or other locations is possible for the future. The price the program pays for investing in the future is better than absorbing the opportunity cost of ignoring a plentiful resource.
Why is this important to the Army National Guard?
Research shows that the lifetime cost of dropping out of high school is approximately $260,000. A study in Illinois and Ohio indicated that the potential cost to a state government for a dropout is over $200,000. Extending this loss out, a Texas study indicated that a one year group of dropouts will cost the state about $19 billion over 50 years. A similar study in California estimated the lifetime loss of one year of dropouts will cost the state over $46 billion. From another sad angle, an Indiana article noted that about half of the adults on welfare lack a high school diploma and about three out of four unemployed adults have literacy problems. The high school diploma is also an indicator of success in the military -more valuable than the General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Focusing on potential loss, however, is not the bottom line. Tapping this 3-million strong pool of talent with a program that promises an education and a jumpstart on a career is a powerful formula.
Related article: First student arrives for first Patriot Academy class
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