Incarcerated population acquire construction skills for re-entry

CARLISLE – The incarcerated population at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility (WVCF) are learning valuable construction skills to help them find employment upon release.

The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Program at WVCF is giving the incarcerated population an opportunity for hands-on training. The Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) and Oakland City University implemented the program in the Fall of 2016. 

Students are required to pass a core curriculum that includes ten hours of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), along with mastering up to 87 different crafts, all the equivalence of a four-year apprenticeship. The requirements mirror those of individuals trained nationwide who statistically have an 85 percent employment rate.

NCCER classes began at WVCF in 2017. Since that time there have been 115 students complete the program. In addition to the certification, graduates also receive a 90-day time-cut.

Warden Frank Vanihel

“Staff at WVCF recognize that programs like NCCER can have a huge impact on whether or not offenders are successful upon release. Our ultimate goal is always safety and security, but a huge part of that is giving offenders the skill sets necessary for them to be a productive part of society,” Warden Frank Vanihel.

“This skills-based class is so important to me. It gives me the ability to go anywhere and not only make a living but also make the place to live. I am grateful for the experience and knowledge,” said Tievon Nichols.

Mark Taylor spoke highly of the program as well. 

“This program is wonderful because it helps us gain skills that will benefit us upon our release, and acquire a trade that is always needed,” he added.