Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $4,500,000)
In 2016, Community College of Vermont (CCV) partnered with Vermont Department of Corrections (VD0C) to explore scope for collaboration. CCV and VDOC have a shared goal to provide VDOC's staff and Vermont’s incarcerated population greater access to a college education. In 2017, CCV and VDOC launched a small pilot, offering 12 community college classes to over 100 students in Vermont's Northern State Correctional Facility. The Corrections Post-Secondary Education Initiative (CPSEI) project seeks to build on the lessons learned as a result of the CCV/VDOC pilot. CPSEI has two primary goals:
1) expand access of post-secondary education to persons incarcerated in Vermont's six correctional facilities;
2) open access to college programs to VDOC personnel, with the goal of addressing employee recruitment and retention issues, meeting training needs, and forming pipelines for employee advancement.
The proposed Corrections Post-Secondary Education Initiative project provides funding for CCV to assess VDOC needs and programmatic priorities; conduct targeted outreach and recruitment; provide personalized academic and financial aid advising; offer specialized, contracted courses that align with learners' interests and unique needs; fund tuition and supplies for project participants; and deliver learning supports that support college persistence and successful course completion. Additionally, the funding allows for the critically important and deliberate process of relationship-building necessary to identify the best programmatic options for these students and to address the barriers particular to each Vermont prison facility and VDOC staff.
The Corrections Post-Secondary Education Initiative is a three-year project that will ultimately engage 150 VDOC personnel and 600 persons incarcerated in Vermont's correctional facilities.