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Inmates Graduate from MO Trade Program

Friday, May 25, 2018

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The first group of students at a new program in Kansas City, Missouri, graduated last week, and officials are calling the program a success.

Construct KC, which received a $200,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Labor earlier this year, ended its first 12-week period of job training for inmates at the Johnson County Department of Corrections Adult Residential Center.

The Program

The program teaches a variety of skills such as framing, electrical, heating and air conditioning and plumbing. The grant money goes to a salary for the inmates and training expenses for the contractors who teach.

"If you've been incarcerated and you sincerely want to change your life, then get into a program like this," said Jacob Chapman, 20, who went through the program and spoke to local television station KSHB.

He’s one of 15 in the first graduating class, which received training from partners including Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City, Workforce Partnership of Johnson Leavenworth and Wyandotte Counties and the Associated Builders and Contractors. Officials say that the idea for the program partially stemmed from the nation’s labor shortage.

"We have a 200,000 man and woman shortage in labor in United States," said David Elliott, President of Construction and Planning Services and a contractor helping with the program. "The average age of your construction worker right now is 46 years of age. The average age of a welder right now is almost 60."

The other goal, though, is to lower the rate of repeat incarceration, which stands at 75 percent, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Construct KC is working with inmates who qualify to leave the facility, are considered a “low risk” for returning and have done well in other work programs.

"We haven't done enough to work with the prison programs to get people out and give them the tools to succeed," Elliott said. "We're able to give a trade to somebody, which allows them to create a life for themselves."

   

Tagged categories: Education; Jobs; Worker training

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