Inmates receive hands-on career guidance

January 30, 2012

From “Inmates receive hands-on career guidance” — OSHKOSH – These tech school instructors from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College took their classroom on the road. But Friday’s demonstration was a little different. The students are all inmates.

“This right here opens a whole other door for me,” said inmate Brad Porter, who said he’d been incarcerated since 1992 for attempted homicide, and could soon be released.

This mobile CNC machinist demonstration unit usually makes stops at high schools and other community events. But through a partnership with the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, it came to the Oshkosh Correctional Institute.

“There are four things that research shows make a difference when guys get out. It’s housing, employment, treatment and support, so the employment piece is very vital,” said Jim Golembeski, the director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board.

The Department of Corrections says when people leave correctional institutions it can be hard to find a job. But the key is having direction and having some training.“They have a better chance of succeeding if they are employed,” said Warden Judy Smith.The Department of Corrections says it costs $30,000 a year to house an inmate.

So, helping them find their way before re-entry through programs like this…could save taxpayers money.

“It’s given them some hope because a lot have a very tough road ahead of them,” said Smith.

After sitting in the seminar, inmates say the future looks less bleak.

“It’s still kind of reeling in my mind because there is so much available to me, it changes the direction I was planning on going in,” said Porter.

Porter described that he had been in prison since he was 18. Now nearly 40, he’s looking for a way to find a good career and start over.

Inmates we spoke with say the dream they now have of one day designing fashioning these metal parts could keep them out from behind these tall metal fences.

This week was the first session at any of the local correctional institutions for the mobile technical training unit. Next week, it will be visiting a women’s correctional facility outside of Fond du Lac.


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