Alamo, GA. – Twenty-five inmates recently graduated from a new vocational welding program at Wheeler Correctional Facility with the inmate's family and loved ones in attendance.
Wheeler and Coffee Correctional Facility opened the training programs in January 2017. The new centers house vocational training programs in the high demand fields of welding and diesel maintenance, offered in partnership with the Georgia Department of Correction, Oconee Fall Line Technical College, and Wiregrass Technical College.
"Both of these programs are strategic industries in Georgia, they've been labeled that by the Governor," said Erica Harden, vice president of Academic and Student Affairs, Oconee Fall Line Technical College. "This means that there are big needs for these skilled workers in both welding and diesel technology in our state."
Once completed, each program culminates in an industry-recognized certification that will go with the graduate when they leave prison, and assist him in securing good, steady employment.
"We know that education and training dramatically increase the odds of success after release," said Damon Hininger, said facility operator CoreCivic President and CEO. "Through our partnerships with the State of Georgia and these local community colleges, we can provide new opportunities that will, hopefully, change lives."
Research shows that inmates who receive an education while incarcerated are 43 percent less likely to return to prison. Vocational training makes it 28 percent more likely that an individual will be able to obtain and keep a good job after release.
Each center is 6,300 square feet and cost CoreCivic $2.1 million to build. New greenhouses were also added to each campus to assist with the horticulture program. The centers took seven months to complete.
In addition to horticulture and the new programs, both facilities also provide training in masonry, carpentry, office technology, CDL, as well as high school equivalency education and life skills programs. The goal of both facilities is to provide resources to reduce recidivism, encourage successful reentry and thereby build stronger, safer communities.
With information from CoreCivic
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