Training Links Paroling Inmates to Union Jobs
(FOLSOM, CA) California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the Prison Industry Authority (PIA), and the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council today announced the graduation of 24 inmates from the newly established carpentry pre-apprenticeship program that trains inmates in construction skills.
“The implementation of this unique prison pre-apprenticeship carpentry training demonstrates Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s commitment to provide new inmate rehabilitation programs. Enhancing employment skills through this training is an important step for inmates to successfully transition back into society,” said CDCR Secretary James Tilton. “Inmates can learn various carpentry skill sets that help prepare them for good-paying jobs upon parole. This is an opportunity for inmates to turn their lives around.”
After completion of the training, the first of its type in the nation, paroling inmates will be eligible for placement in a full-scale apprenticeship program, offered through the Carpenters Training Committee for Northern California, which leads to jobs with construction companies that employ organized labor. PIA will pay the initial union dues and provide a full complement of tools to inmates who complete the program and enter Carpenters Local 46.
As part of the new training program called “Career Technical Education-Carpentry”, inmates are working in two different areas. The new Modular Building Enterprise, housed in a 30,000 square foot facility, provides rehabilitative work assignments for inmates in building modular structures that will be subsequently transported for use at various prisons and juvenile centers throughout the State. Additionally, inmates are refurbishing and converting the previously vacant Green Valley Fire Camp 12 into a CDCR/PIA Training and Engineering Center. Inmates gain proficiencies in various skill sets including concrete pouring, framing, drywall, taping and texturing, painting, roofing, and finished carpentry skills.
PIA is the State organization that provides productive job assignments for inmates in California’s adult correctional institutions. PIA’s products and services are available to governmental entities, including federal, state, and local agencies. PIA operates factories that produce a variety of goods and services including: modular buildings, office furniture, eye glasses, license plates, coffee, shoes, printing services, signs, binders, clothing, and much more.
PIA has established the Inmate Employability Program, which provides training, certification, and job placement assistance, to improve the employability of inmates upon parole. While PIA work assignments help train inmates to prepare for employment, the program also reduces idleness and decreases violence in the institutions. Court-ordered restitution/fines are deducted from the wages earned by PIA inmates and are transferred to the Crime Victims’ Restitution Fund. In fiscal year 2005-2006 over $.7 million of PIA inmates’ earnings was deposited into this fund.