Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) and the Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program (YCP) have partnered to develop a unique Technical Skills Training Program that will allow the cadets to attend college full time while enrolled in the residential phase of YCP at Camp Beauregard. The program is the first-of-its-kind for both organizations.
Under the pilot, 32 YCP cadets will begin testing tomorrow at the Alexandria Main Campus, and they will be ready for classes on Monday, Aug. 17, when the fall semester at CLTCC starts. The testing will begin at 10 a.m. and last several hours to assess their reading, writing, and math skills. The students also will meet their program instructors.
The cadets were able to choose from the welding, industrial manufacturing technology, and patient care technician programs. The training will be for five months, and successful completion will lead to an industry skill certification. The cadets will travel from Camp Beauregard to CLTCC to attend classes Monday through Thursday from 12 noon to 6 p.m. The cadets will attend classes as a cohort and be accompanied by Camp Beauregard officials daily.
YCP is an alternative school for 16-to-18 year olds who have dropped out of high school. The statewide program currently has three sites – Camp Minden near Shreveport, Camp Beauregard in Pineville, and the Gillis W. Long Center near Baton Rouge. It lasts for 17 months, and it consists of two phases: a five-month residential phase and a 17-month post-residential phase. During the residential phase, students live on site, attend school, receive individual counseling, and are supervised 24 hours a day. After they graduate with their high school equivalency diploma, students return home and enter the post-residential phase where case managers help them enroll in college, find jobs, or enlist in the military. YCP is 100 percent free for participants. All needs such as meals, bedding, classroom instruction, and uniforms are provided free of charge.
“Contrary to the various stereotypes that tend to surround teenagers who drop out of high school, these students are hard workers and very respectful,” said Heather Poole, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at CLTCC. “For whatever reason, they didn’t thrive in a traditional high school environment, and they are now in YCP. However, this doesn’t mean they are not smart or capable of getting their high school diploma and going to college. There are many pathways to success, and we want to help YCP with its mission to intervene in and reclaim the lives of these students. The primary goals are to help them move into higher education and get them career ready.”
“Louisiana has one of the highest dropout rates in the United States, and research shows that unemployment significantly increases the dropout rates,” said MAJ Kenneth Paul, YCP Program Director. “In addition, employers indicate that they are unable to find qualified applicants with the experience, skills, and/or certification they are seeking. Through this partnership, we can train our cadets, improve their lives, assist business and industry, and positively impact our community.”
According to YCP, the pilot program will consist of 32 cadets with the intent of increasing this number to 100 by year two.