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Pelican Bay Communication BA Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $899,999)

Cal Poly Humboldt will offer a four-year Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Communication for inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison. This will be the first B.A. program in the United States offered at a level-four, maximum security prison (Pelican Bay is the only super maximum security prison in California). Through B.A. degree completion and wrap-around career preparation, the program helps incarcerated students achieve desired educational outcomes and access career pathways upon release. The program’s emphasis is on racial equity (Goal 1), achieved through serving incarcerated students in one of the most racially segregated institutions in the United States. In partnership with Project Rebound, the program will bridge incarcerated students and recently released students in developing educational and career opportunities. Over the course of the grant period we anticipate serving 60 students, with more than half achieving their B.A. degree. Additionally, the grant resources will allow Cal Poly Humboldt to develop the infrastructure to sustain long-term, post-grant educational opportunities for students to pursue four-year degrees at Pelican Bay. The AA-to-BA pathway between College of the Redwoods and Cal Poly Humboldt will be strengthened. Targeted post-degree employment preparation and re-entry support will be guided by the best practices provided by Project Rebound and the Advising and Academic Career Center at Cal Poly Humboldt. The impact of this work will be to demonstrably and positively impact post-release opportunities for incarcerated students, strengthening their career opportunities and dramatically reducing recidivism and enhancing community safety. The ripple effects of this work for individual students and their families can be dramatic as it focuses on the needs of those most affected by the systems of incarceration. This program will help racial justice, community resilience, and add capable workers to the California economy.

Date Created: September 25, 2023