Prison inmates earn school credits inside, hope for jobs outsideThe Wisconsin Department of Corrections is finishing its first round of manufacturing classes for student-inmates.
By: By Patty Murray, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The Wisconsin Department of Corrections is finishing its first round of manufacturing classes for student-inmates. The Department is using a mobile lab where students can earn technical college credits.
The first group of students to use the lab was at the medium security Oshkosh Correctional.
One of the students who will earn six technical college credits is Jason Kubond.
“If you can overcome this you can overcome a lot of barriers in life,” he said.
Having prison time on one’s resume may seem like a permanent blot. But the inmates, like Jefferey Cox, say spending time in class shows initiative.
“It sort of is a scarlet letter to have on our record, being in prison,” he said. “So anything to help better myself and move forward in life, I’m going to take the opportunity.”
The credits are in advanced manufacturing.
Even in a bad economy employers — especially manufacturers — need workers with a certain skill set. John Davis is CEO of the Great Northern Company: a packaging firm. He says modern factory equipment is mostly computer-controlled, so entry level workers need skills. And Davis says he's willing to take them where he can get them.
“As entrepreneurs we have made a lot of mistakes along the way as we've built our companies and recognize that that's part of risk-taking,” Davis said. “So to hold a mistake against someone's past isn't consistent with the environment we’re in.”
The Advanced Manufacturing Mobile Lab is run out of Lakeshore Technical College. After it leaves Oshkosh this week it goes to a Wisconsin's women's prison, Taycheedah, in mid-March.