State’s third Youth Challenge Academy brings 125 jobs to Milledgeville

MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Georgia’s third Youth Challenge Academy is in the works at Central State Hospital’s campus in Milledgeville. 41NBC’s Alexa Rodriguez found out what a cadet will experience if he or she gets accepted into the academy.

Governor Nathan Deal decided the state’s third YCA would be located at Central State Hospital last August. Not only does it help teens develop character and life skills, it’s also bringing jobs to the area. 

Central State Hospital is trying to bring back the almost 7,000 jobs it lost when it closed. 

“It used to be Central State Hospital was the model for health care,” explained Executive Director of the Central State Hospital Redevelopment Authority Michael Couch.

New projects like the YCA will help.

“For Milledgeville, Baldwin County it’s going to be 125 jobs,” said Couch.

The school will help “at-risk” teens get an education and develop life skills. The Georgia Youth Challenge Milledgeville Campus Director Captain Jared Smith described ideal candidates as those looking for a challenge, those who made bad choices that were not felony related, or those who had a hard time in school.

“You can expect a military atmosphere where you would wear uniforms, do a drill and ceremony, physical training every day along with academic classes, community service and education building classes,” explained Capt. Smith.

Cleanup is underway at the Boland Building. When the YCA is finished, it will house about 300 cadets. Couch said the State is paying for the renovations.

Once a cadet finishes his or her 5 and a half month stay at the YCA, they don’t have a commitment to the military. 

“Only 6 percent choose to go into the military. The other percentages go into the work force or they go to college,” said Capt. Smith.

There’s also a one year post program where cadets have a mentor that works with them to make sure they’re using the lessons learned during their time at YCA.

Capt. Smith wants to instill confidence and character in his cadets. 

“Just overall demeanor that will help them to want to strive to success and to have the tools and understand the process to become successful,” explained Capt. Smith.

Because for Capt. Smith, it’s all about helping others.

“There’s no greater feeling than being able to possibly impact lives around you,” said Capt. Smith.

Renovations to the building are expected to be finished in July. The Milledgeville campus hopes to have its first class next fall. Applications are available here. Applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 18. Applicants can not select which campus they want to attend. Milledgeville’s campus is not accepting applications yet. The deadline for this round of applications is November 17, according to the Georgia Youth Challenge Academy’s website.  

Categories: Baldwin County, Local News

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