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Equipping Incarcerated Individuals with Vocational and Life Skills That Lead to Employment Upon Release

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $874,574)

Second Chance Act: Adult Reentry Education/Employment, Treatment and Recovery
Program—Learn to Earn Grant Application

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education (ODCTE) has a division titled Skills Centers that is a vocational education school system within Oklahoma’s prisons. Skills Centers were designed to equip incarcerated individuals with vocational skills that result in employment; thus, providing Oklahoma with a skilled workforce and reducing recidivism.  ODCTE and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections are partnering to add a Skills Center at the Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center (NOCC), housing adult males with 517 beds in Vinita, Oklahoma. Grant goals are:

Goal One: Life Skills Training To prepare all participants with workforce life skills that enable them to obtain employment and interact as a fully functioning partner in the workforce. Objectives:

Equip a minimum of 74 students annually (222 3-year total) with life skills
Develop and implement 74 life success plans annually (222 total)
Secure 74 Work Key credentials annually (222 total)

Goal Two: OSHA 10 & Forklift Training To prepare all students with OSHA-10 certifications and forklift training for employment in general industry.  (Students applying for jobs with an OSHA certification can earn $1 - $2 per hour more as the certifications reduce a company’s training time and insurance costs.) Objective:

Equip a minimum of 74 students annually (222 total) with OSHA 10 certifications and forklift training

Goal Three Vocational Training To expand vocational training at NOCC resulting in individuals earning work certifications that cumulate in employment upon release.   Objectives:

Equip a minimum of 20 individuals annually (60 total) as Certified Production Technicians (CPT)
Equip a minimum of 30 individuals annually (90 total) as certified welders
Equip a minimum of 24 individuals annually (72 total) with Commercial Driver Licenses 

Goal Four: Certifications To equip participants with industry-endorsed certifications that will give them an advantage in obtaining employment. Objectives:

Provide financial assistance enabling individuals to take a total of 218 certifications annually

Goal Five: Recidivism To reduce the recidivism rate at NOCC. Objective:

Reduce vocationally trained individuals recidivism by 8% as compared to non-trained participants.

Both Oklahoma employers and released individuals will benefit from the grant activities. Businesses will have access to a trained workforce and offenders will be able to earn a living wage.

Date Created: December 2, 2021