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Local Employer Joins Offender Success and Michigan Works on Vocational Program Tour

Local Offender Success and Northwest Michigan Works! staff, along with local employer, Kalkaska Screw Products, visited the Michigan Department of Corrections Vocational Village in Ionia, to learn more about the program as a potential source of trained employees. Vocational Village is a skilled trades training program offered for those incarcerated who are serious about completing career and technical education, so as to transition immediately into the workforce upon returning home.  Carpentry, Plumbing, CNC Machining, Welding, Automotive Technology, Electrical, Robotics/CNC, CDL/Forklift, and Masonry/Concrete training are the trade programs offered.  Those incarcerated have full days of training and classroom instruction that mirror a typical workday out in the community.  Employers are able to interview program participants in person or via Skype.

To date, the program has been very successful. As of June 2018, the current employment rate for Vocational Village graduates is 63%. Across the entire State of Michigan, there are 477 employers that have partnered with the MDOC and are willing to hire the returning citizen population. Currently 181 Vocational Village Graduates have paroled and 114 Vocational Village Graduates are employed.

There are two Vocational Villages fully operational in Michigan, Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson and Richard Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia. A third Vocational Village will be at the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility and is currently in the construction stage.

More information about the Vocational Village program is available at, michigan.gov/vocvillage

For more information about the Offender Success program in Northwest Michigan, go to: nwm.org/offendersuccess

Testimonial

Elise, Sarah and Elizabeth of Networks Northwest really made the Speak-Up Kalkaska Event successful, and we look forward to our continued partnership in completing the cooperative Master Plan Process.

Cash Cook, Kalkaska DDA Director