Hara: Budget cuts force closure of Hilo Youth Challenge Academy

  • KELSEY WALLING/Tribune-Herald file photo Moshi Robert laughs while watching a video compilation of cadets’ families during the National Guard Youth Challenge Academy commencement ceremony in Hilo on June 18, 2020.

The state’s adjutant general told a joint state Senate committees informational briefing Tuesday the Hawaii National Guard Hilo Youth Challenge Academy will be closing.

“That equates to about 42 positions,” said Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, while presenting the state Department of Defense budget to the senators. “So that’s $612,000 from the state and just about $2.4 million federal.”


Hara told the lawmakers the closure was due to “budgetary constraints … due to the COVID-19 pandemic” forcing the state’s DOD to “divest certain activities that are not focused on the department’s core function.

The Kalaeloa campus of the academy, which takes a military approach to the education of at-risk high-school age youth, will remain open and, according to state DOD spokesman Jeff Hickman, will accept statewide applications.


See Friday’s edition of the Tribune-Herald for a more detailed story.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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