By Zoe Morris
| Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy | Oct. 7, 2020
With the opening of the second Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy campus mere days away, nearly 60 staff members at MCA-South in Montgomery, West Virginia, are wrapping up training on a wide variety of topics, including how to help MCA graduates continue on a successful path.
Kim Keene, staff training coordinator for MCA and Mountaineer Job ChalleNGe (MJC) program, visited the staff at MCA-S on Oct. 2, 2020, to introduce MJC as a unique and free way to bridge cadets from a high school diploma to gainful employment.
“At the end of the day we are all here for these students,” Keene said while addressing the new staff. “The past is in the rear view mirror. We are here to look forward through the windshield. You are here to help these students look at that road map, planning the path ahead.”
MJC is a career and technical education program for select MCA graduates, age 18-21, who wish to earn industry-recognized certifications while maintaining the Youth ChalleNGe Program’s eight core components in a quasi-military residential environment.
The 10-22 week program has several tracks supported by the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) and education partners like Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI), Pierpont Community and Technical College and the WVNG’s 197th Regional Training Institute.
“The Job ChalleNGe program is a unique and practical opportunity to grow our workforce and economy while offering our youth hope and practical tools,” said WNVG Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer. “The Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy has almost 30 years of success with our high school-aged youth, and Job ChalleNGe is building on that success to carry them into the future.”
“I’d love to see everyone recognize that Mountaineer ChalleNGe is open to all West Virginia kids, ages 16 - 21,” said Keene. “I've overheard people talking about us, out in public, saying 'oh, that's that school for bad kids.' And it’s not.”
“This is a school for everyone, regardless of class, race, or background,” Keene said. “Going from earning their diploma in MCA to earning industry certifications and transferable credits in Job ChalleNGe is a no-brainer. It’s a scholarship to a private school staffed by people who want you to succeed.”
For more information on the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy and Mountaineer Job ChalleNGe, visit wvchallenge.org.