Oklahoma Career Tech Seeks to Expand Training Programs for Inmates

Jan 13, 2020

Credit KWGS News file photo

Many companies in Oklahoma are hurting for workers, and many former or soon-to-be former inmates need good jobs.

Oklahoma Career Tech has a $2.5 million plan to get more people in Department of Corrections custody access to training programs. Director Marcie Mack said they'll start with a few key industries.

"Truck driver training is one of the largest areas of request that we have for the state. And so, we have individuals that would qualify to serve in that capacity or that occupation," Mack said.

Plans also call for Career Tech to offer advanced manufacturing classes in women's prisons and bring programs to girls in juvenile centers, who currently don't have any access to career tech programs while boys have two programs to choose from.

"The programs that we’re currently evaluating to put in that area align with coding pieces. There also is a manufacturing piece to that," Mack said.

Those plans could be the first step in a series of new job training programs for inmates.

"We do have other locations that we are looking to expand in, but the conversation of the space and the availability to be actually on the property, some of those may need to be at a community corrections or with some of our nonprofits," Mack said.

Career Tech keeps a close eye on existing correctional training programs to make sure participants get jobs after release, ideally in the $11 to $15 an hour range.