1st group of female inmates complete workforce readiness program at Ky. jail
In the program, inmates can take online classes on information technology, problem-solving, personal development, job skills and other areas
By James Mayse
OWENSBORO, Ky. — The Daviess County Detention Center presented certificates to the first class of women inmates to complete the jail’s workforce readiness program.
Four women received certificates, signifying they had completed the work skills program. Amanda Alvey, one of the graduates, said finding work can be difficult.
“With a felony record, it’s harder to find employment — not impossible, but harder,” Alvey said. The program “has been beneficial in helping me.”
Alvey said the program would be a bigger aid to inmates who are new to the job market.
“I have a lot of job experience in my past,” she said, “so this was a refresher.”
The program, in which inmates take online classes on information technology, problem-solving, personal development, job skills and other areas, is a collaboration between the jail, Owensboro Community & Technical College, the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp., the city and county and local businesses.
The curriculum is certified by OCTC. The program is for low-level, nonviolent inmates.
A group of male inmates also completed the program Tuesday. As part of the program, the inmates are interviewed by local businesses that are actively looking for workers and can offer jobs to class participants upon their release.
“These employers are employers of choice,” Cindy Fiorella, OCTC vice president for Workforce Solutions, told the inmates. “They want you as employees.”
Alvey, who would like to go into sales and marketing upon her release, said “It was interesting to hear some of the opportunities for employment and advancement” at the companies.
County Judge-Executive Charlie Castlen commended the participants for working to improve their skills.
“Any time you reach out and grab something that will help you move forward in life, it’s a good thing,” he said.
The program, Castlen said, “gives you truly a leg up on your peers who will walk out of here, who haven’t gone through the program.”
Castlen asked the class to pass word of the program to others.
“I would encourage you, on your way out, turn around and encourage someone that is still here,” Castlen said.
Mayor Tom Watson said the inmates showed commitment by completing the program.
“This community believes in you,” he said.
Jason May, who received his certificate Tuesday, said the inmates worked through jail programs while taking classes on their own time. After meeting with employers through the program, May was offered a job with benefits, including health insurance.
“I worked construction my whole life, and I didn’t have healthcare,” May said. “I’m a little older, so it’s important I have healthcare.”
May has about a year before he is scheduled to be released.
“I know, in 12 months, where I’m going to go for a job,” he said.
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