Coldiron named director of Kentucky National Guard Appalachian Challenge Academy

Story by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Click here for more photos and info on the Kentucky National Guard Youth Challenge Program

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Appalachian Challenge Academy cadets during a visit to the state capitol building in Frankfort. (Photo by Will Daniels, Appalachian Challenge Academy)

HARLAN, Ky. — Harlan native Josh Coldiron has been named the director of the Kentucky National Guard’s Appalachian Challenge Academy.

Josh Coldiron

“I am honored to be a part of the Appalachian Challenge Academy,” said Josh Coldiron, the new director of Appalachia Challenge Academy. “We will continue to work hard to provide this incredible opportunity for the youth of our region.” (Photo by Will Daniels, Appalachian Challenge Academy)

Sponsored by the Kentucky National Guard and administered by the Department of Military Affairs, the Appalachian Challenge Academy’s mission is to train and mentor selected at-risk youth between the ages of 16 and 18, and to help them become contributing members of society.   Over the course of the 22 week residential phase cadets work daily towards earning a GED or earning credits to return and rejoin their high school class. They also complete a minimum of 40 hours of community service, and take part in many local events.

“I am honored to be a part of the Appalachian Challenge Academy,” said Coldiron.  “Our program’s mission is to train and mentor selected youth to become contributing members of society.  We will continue to work hard to provide this incredible opportunity for the youth of our region.”

There are currently 68 cadets currently enrolled in the Harlan program. A second academy with 91 cadets is located at Fort Knox. The program is more than 15 years old and has seen 2,274 graduates pass through its doors.

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Cadets at the Appalachian Challenge Academy take part in a flag ceremony in Harlan. (photo by Capt. Stephen Martin, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs)

“Josh has shown himself to be the right person at the right time for the right job,” said Major General Edward W. Tonini, Adjutant General for Kentucky.  “Since coming on staff he’s shown that he’s got the energy, creativity, dedication and experience needed to run this very important program.  I look forward to seeing what the future brings the Appalachian Challenge Academy under his guidance.”

Coldiron began his career with the Department of Military Affairs on October 16, 2011 as the assistant director of the Appalachian Challenge Academy where he provided administrative support services to the director and technical management assistance to organizational units within the division.

Coldiron is a graduate of Harlan High School and Eastern Kentucky University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in History.  Coldiron began his career with Kentucky State Government on February 1, 2002 with the Department of Corrections as a Probation & Parole Officer.  During his time there he maintained an average caseload of 160 clients; served as Class D Coordinator for Harlan County Detention Center; he monitored court-ordered financial obligations; composed Pre-sentence Investigations and Supervision reports; and he provided testimony in Circuit Court Hearings and Parole Revocation Hearings.

Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy Command VisitThe current classes are scheduled to graduate in June.  Recruiting for the next semester is now under way.

For more information on the Kentucky National Guard’s Youth Challenge Program and how to enroll, call 1-855-KY-NGYCP (1-855-596-4927).

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