20 earn job certifications at Folsom State Prison
In front of family and friends, 20 graduates were honored with their construction industry accredited job certifications at Folsom State Prison. The graduates have participated in the California Prison Industry Authority’s (CALPIA’s) Pre-Apprentice Carpentry, Pre-Apprentice Construction Labor, and Pre-Apprentice Roofing programs.
CALPIA’s General Manager Bill Davidson offered words of encouragement to the graduates.
“CALPIA is committed and dedicated to you. We want you to succeed,” said Davidson. “We are providing you opportunities to prepare for a successful life and career when you leave prison, with the ultimate goal that you never come back.”
The ceremony was held inside CALPIA’s Modular Building Enterprise. That is where the graduates learned their job skills with the help from trade unions. CALPIA partners with the Valley Roofers and Waterproofers JATC, Laborers Training/Retraining Trust Fund for Northern California, and the Carpenters Training Committee for Northern California.
Graduates have the opportunity to sign up with the union once they return to their communities. In addition, CALPIA pays their first year of union dues and provides them with a new set of tools.
Graduation is a step toward a better future
“Graduation is a time to reflect on that uphill battle you have faced. It’s also a time to celebrate the accomplishments you have achieved,” said Acting Warden Tracy Johnson. “I applaud each of you and you all should be proud of yourselves.”
Along with Warden Johnson, Deputy Director of Facility Support for CDCR’s Division of Adult Institutions Jared Lozano also cheered on the graduates.
A former graduate of CALPIA’s Optical program, Robert Castenada, inspired the audience by sharing his story of success. Castenada is now a licensed optician with one of the largest prescription eyewear retailers.
“I have been in your shoes and have been through the trials and tribulations as you have. I encourage you to take advantage of the CALPIA programs,” added Castenada. “The optical certification I earned at California State Prison, Solano, allowed me to become a licensed optician. I have been able to purchase a home and live a good life. That is what I want for each of you.”
By Michele Kane, Assistant General Manager, External Affairs
California Prison Industry Authority