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Nation’s First Prison Pre-Apprenticeship Program For Construction Jobs Debuts at Folsom State Prison

Training Links Paroling Inmates to Union Jobs

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary James Tilton, the Prison Industry Authority, and the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council today announced the graduation of 16 inmates, incarcerated at California State Prison, Sacramento, from the newly established pre-apprenticeship program that teaches inmates construction skills they can use to successfully obtain employment upon parole.

After completion of the training, the first of its type in the nation, paroling inmates will be eligible for placement in a full-scale apprenticeship program, offered through the Carpenters Training Committee for Northern California, which leads to jobs with construction companies that employ organized labor.

As part of the new training program, called Career Technical Education-Carpentry, inmates are refurbishing and converting the previously vacant Green Valley Fire Camp 12, at Folsom State Prison, into a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations/PIA Training and Engineering Center. There, inmates gain proficiencies in various skill sets including concrete pouring, framing, drywall, taping and texturing, painting, roofing, and finished carpentry skills. Some of the graduating inmates will be transferred to PIA’s modular building enterprise, located at Folsom State Prison, where portable structures will be manufactured and sold to State agencies. PIA will pay the initial union dues and provide a full complement of tools to inmates who complete the program and enter Carpenters Local 46.

“This innovative training program is part of Governor Schwarzenegger’s efforts to rehabilitate inmates in California’s adult correctional institutions and is an important component in our renewed focus to assist inmates with the re-entry process. This is truly an investment in public safety, because employed parolees mean safer communities,” said Secretary Tilton.

“The Prison Industry Authority and the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council have developed this partnership to provide a new type of job training. Inmates can learn various carpentry skill sets that are easily transferable to jobs on the outside. I am enthused about this program because by preparing inmates prior to their release, we can address the issues of unemployment among parolees,” said Charles Pattillo, PIA’s acting General Manager.

PIA is the State organization that provides productive job assignments for inmates in California’s adult correctional institutions. PIA’s products and services are available to governmental entities, including federal, state, and local agencies. PIA operates factories that produce a variety of goods and services including: modular buildings, office furniture, eye glasses, license plates, coffee, shoes, printing services, signs, binders, clothing, and much more.

PIA has established the Inmate Employability Program, which provides training, certification, and job placement assistance, to improve the employability of inmates upon parole. While PIA work assignments help train inmates to prepare for employment, the program also reduces idleness and decreases violence in the institutions. Court-ordered restitution/fines are deducted from the wages earned by PIA inmates and are transferred to the Crime Victims’ Restitution Fund. In fiscal year 2004-2005 over $.5 million of inmates’ PIA earnings was deposited into this fund