SC Governor to Speak at Inaugural POST ChalleNGe Graduation
(May 25, 2016, Aiken, SC) South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley will be the guest speaker at the inaugural graduation for the POST ChalleNGe program on Friday, May 27. The graduation will be held at 2 p.m. at Aiken Technical College in the Gregg-Graniteville Student Activities Center gymnasium.
The POST ChalleNGe program is a collaborative effort between the South Carolina Army National Guard, Aiken Technical College, Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute Camp Long facility, the Aiken County Public School District, and the Lower Savannah Council of Governments’ Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
The program was created due to the award of a nearly $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to create a 20-week extension to the South Carolina Army National Guard’s Youth ChalleNGe Academy based at McCrady Training Center in Eastover, S.C. The program, which began in January, will serve six cohorts of students over the next three years.
"These young people have already completed Youth ChalleNGe, a 22-week quasi-military program which follows an intervention model of eight core components to improve their life skills and enhance the holistic growth of the cadets,” said Larry Snipes, Director of the POST ChalleNGe program. “Department of Labor’s Job Challenge, called POST ChalleNGe in South Carolina, is a pilot program that expands and enhances the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program’s job skills component.”
Cadets selected for the POST ChalleNGe program have an opportunity to earn applied science certificates from Aiken Technical College during the 20-week session in high-demand fields such as welding, basic tower and wireless installation, production technology, computer technology, and patient care assisting.
In addition to receiving a college credential, cadets will also be recognized at graduation for other credentials received during the course of the program such as WorkKeys and GED credentials.
“We are very proud of these cadets and their growth over the past few months. The POST ChalleNGe program is a unique opportunity to provide cadets, who come from around the state, with skills that are in high-demand among our state’s employers,” said Aiken Technical College President Dr. Susan A. Winsor. “We are proud to partner with the South Carolina Army National Guard and our other partners in providing educational opportunities that set the stage for future success.”
Gov. Haley will be joined by a number of special guests for this momentous occasion including her husband, Capt. Michael Haley; South Carolina Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr.; South Carolina Assistant Adjutant General-Army Brig. Gen. R. Van McCarty; Ernie Gonzales, Director of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs; Jennifer Troke, Director of Youth Services with the U.S. Department of Labor; Col. Jackie Fogle, Director of the South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy; and a number of state and local elected officials.
A reception for graduating cadets and their families will follow the graduation ceremony.