Oklahoma gets $1 Million for young offender program

In July, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education Skills Center School System received one of the largest grants awarded by the U.S. Dept of Labor to prepare young offenders for successful entry into the workforce.

A total of $15.6 million was given to 16 organizations from 12 states ranging from $851,000 to $1 million. Oklahoma was one of only eight recipients of $1 million.

The grant focuses on training students for careers in the metal manufacturing and construction industry.

The Governor's Council for Workforce and Economic Development, industry representatives, juvenile justice, faith-based organizations, the Department of Corrections and the Department of Commerce, joined Oklahoma's CareerTech system in this joint effort, according to Dom Garrison, superintendent of the CareerTech Skills Centers School System.

"The project could serve up to 200 young Oklahomans from 16 to 21 years of age during the first year," Garrison said. "We will provide career specific training, rigorous mathematics, literacy and communications skills development, and transition services to help these students successfully enter the workforce."

The grant will be used to teach students at three correctional facilities with CareerTech Skills Centers programs ? the William Key Correctional Center, Ft. Supply; Bill Johnson Correctional Center, Alva; and Howard McLeod Correctional Center, Lane.

The grant will also be used for outreach with the court system for young offenders who have not yet been sentenced to prison, providing services to help get them on their feet.

"Our goal is to connect these young people with existing community and educational resources to deter them from entering the prison system," Garrison said.

For this grant, the Oklahoma Chapter of Associated General Contractors, will provide mentors and hands-on training to those who are selected for the program.

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