SCC Vice President of Instruction Dennis Headrick says the school was approached by Nebraska Correctional Industries in July, the entity that employs inmates.
“We’ve looked at some of the things they’re doing in Correctional Industries to see how the training they’re doing fits with some of our programs,” Headrick says. “A good example would be welding. Obviously, if you go to any of the state parks, if you have a grill there, that was made by inmates at the Nebraska Department of Corrections.”
Headrick says the U.S. Department of Education has formulated a pilot program called Second Chance Pell, a financial aid option for inmate retraining.
“Our goal is, starting in January, to offer two welding classes at the state penitentiary, plus another couple of general education courses,” Headrick says. “It will be primarily for inmates who are in a window of probably five years or less from being able to get out.”
SCC had formerly provided training in the state prison system for several years, but funding fell short and the program was discontinued. It offers opportunities for the inmates, Headrick says, and for society.
Headrick says, “Hopefully, they can get the training, they can get some education and when they do get out, maybe they can continue that education with us and get employed and hopefully not end up back in prison.”
He says funding and progress with the early offerings of courses will determine the success of the effort.
The college has also been asked to consider other locations, like the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution and the York State Prison for women.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice