Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology and Anthropology

Department name when degree awarded


Committee Chair(s)

Amy K. Bailey


Amy K. Bailey


Reed Geertsen


Jason Leiker


Since its inception in 1993, nearly 90,000 high school dropouts have completed the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, a youth diversion program for unemployed high school dropouts. As of 2008, 27 states have partnered with the military to implement this residential program for at-risk youth. There is limited research on this new social welfare program despite its representing a dynamic military-state-welfare relationship. This study examines state-level conditions and looks to answer three research questions: 1) Under what conditions do states start a ChalleNGe program?; 2) What role do time-varying social and economic factors have in influencing states to initially adopt the program?; and 3) To what extent does the racial composition of program sites reflect the racial composition of its host state's young high school drop-outs? I examined state-level social and economic conditions using data from a variety of federal agencies and public opinion surveys. I examined social and economic circumstances that may have influenced state-level participation. Due to the nature of time-dependent variables and states' launching programs as various times since 1993, I used an event history analysis to predict the timing of initiation of a ChalleNGe program. The results of this research indicate that high unemployment rates and low high school graduation rates increase the likelihood that a state will create a ChalleNGe program. The results from this study provide insight into the creation and expansion of the ChalleNGe program as well as the changing role of military as a part of the welfare state.




This work made publicly available electronically on July 31, 2012.

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