The options for attending a private or public military school in Michigan are currently limited to a specialized maritime academy and a military-based program for troubled youth.
However, there are Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs in secondary schools throughout the stated, as well as full ROTC programs in just under a dozen of the state’s colleges and universities. These are discussed in more detail below. There are, however, several military schools available in neighboring Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.
Great Lakes Maritime Academy
As one of only six maritime academies in the United States, the Great Lakes Maritime Academy stands unique as the only freshwater academy. Students who attend and graduate this special academy have the opportunity to be licensed for both ocean travel and work on the Great Lakes. Students who are classified as Dual Purpose Education Cadets are provided an exceptional education that includes both classroom and on-the-water studies.
A Life at Sea
If you have always considered the idea of a career spent traveling the world as attractive, you will find a great deal to interest you at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. This school is designed to train you in several areas that are involved manning ships at sea. You can focus on the piloting of ships as a deck officer or keeping the ships running from an engineering and power plant perspective.
The training at the school combines time in the classroom with time on the Great Lakes and at sea. You can tailor your education to include other specialties such as radar observer and distress and safety systems. Additionally, you can seek and obtain various licenses and certifications.
Gaining Admission and Covering Tuition
Prospective academy attendees must take and pass the COMPASS placement test. This exam ensures students have acceptable capabilities in the areas of reading, writing, math and algebra.
The process for taking the COMPASS and applying to GLMA is fully explained on the academy website. Veterans have a special preference and the school does accept transfer students under certain conditions.
There is a range of fees for students at the academy determined by the specific areas of study, such as Deck Officer, Engineering Officer, and Power Plant Operator. Students who have just completed high school or are under 20 years of age must also pay fees to live at the academy.
There are a number of programs that assist with underwriting the costs of attending Great Lakes Maritime Academy. These include the Naval Reserve, the Strategic Sealift Officer Program (SSOP), and the scholarships offered by the Maritime Administration (MARAD).
Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy
The Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy is one of 26 such programs nationwide focused on the large number of students who do not graduate from high school. Those who fail to complete high school are often unemployable and make up the majority of inmates at prisons and jails. The core objective of the ChalleNGe concept is to convert such dropouts into productive citizens who have jobs or serve in the military.
Adopting a New and Effective Approach
Legislation passed in 1993 along with the Defense Authorization Act was intended to help address this issue of high school dropouts. This produced the National Guard Civilian Youth Opportunities Program, now known as ChalleNGe academies. Using military-based educational training, students are provided training in such areas as necessary life skills and work-related training for future employment. The program is implemented with some variances in each participating state although they share the same basic structure.
Providing at-risk youth the ability and desire to ‘Dream. Believe. Achieve.’ is the core of the program’s mission.
A Two-Part Program
The student population consists of male & female at-risk youth, 16-18 years of age. Attendees do not incur any military service obligations. However, many successful graduates pursue the military as a desirable option to complete their overall development and movement on the path to success.
Many consider the ChalleNGe program one of the most successful methods for reaching and helping at-risk youth. The academy guidelines state it ‘adopts features that characterize successful intervention programs: a residential model, strict discipline, structured long-term follow-up, and diverse participants.’ The two separate phases cover a total of 17.5 months and include both residential and post-residential training.
The 22-week residential phase provides a demanding military environment for students who live in residence. The curriculum covers basic academics with a larger mission that includes the development of the whole person. There are a total of eight components in the training that includes subjects such as job skills, life-coping skills, physical training, and responsible citizenship. Students have the opportunity to attain a GED degree.
Upon completion of the residential phase, students enter the post-residential phase for one year. A personal mentor is assigned and helps the student find employment while often getting educational training.
Proven Results, High Expectations
Michigan has joined other states in achieving significant results with this program. Well over 95 percent of all graduates either are hired for quality jobs, attend college, or join the military.
Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy may sound like a great program for your son or daughter who has dropped out of school. If so, you can start the application process online. You should carefully review the requirements for the program which include passing a drug test and being free of any current legal issues.
Other Alternatives for Military Schools in Michigan
You will find programs offering the benefits of JROTC in Michigan secondary schools. These programs are focused on the cultures and training of different U.S. military branches, including the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force.
For junior and senior college and university ROTC programs, you will find exemplary units such as the University of Michigan ROTC Air Force Detachment 390, Army ROTC Wolverine Battalion, and Naval ROTC units. The Army ROTC Western Michigan University is also recognized as a leading unit. There are attractive scholarships available for these positions, as well as the opportunity to earn a commission in the U.S. military.
Qualified secondary students in Michigan can also consider attendance at one of the five federal service academies, each of which offer full four-year educations free of any fees or tuition.