The Charleston County Detention Center Welding Initiative, a public/private partnership formed by the Charleston County Detention Center, readySC (formerly the Center for Accelerated Technology and Training), Trident Technical College (TTC), South Carolina Employment Security Commission (SCESC), and Trident One Stop Career System (TOSCS), was recognized for its success and innovative approach to providing a sustainable career in a high demand industry to otherwise unskilled people who were detained due to failure to pay child support.
Major A. Hanson, Charleston County Sheriff’s Department, Lt. M. Gallant, Charleston County Sheriff’s Department, Jacky Marks, Trident Technical College Welding Instructor, Homer L. Spaulding, Assistant Director Manufacturing Industrial & Construction Trades, Trident Technical College, John Snowden, Trident Technical College, Jim Maxon, readySC, and Chuck Maury, Trident One Stop Career System, presented a plaque to Mack Canterbury, Charleston County Administrator (second from left), from the South Carolina Association for Continuing Higher Education recognizing the Welding Initiative with its 2007 Outstanding Continuing Education Cooperative Program Award.
On that same day, Christine DuRant, Charleston County Grants Administrator, and Paul L. Connerty, Executive Director of the Trident Workforce Investment Board presented a White Paper explaining the Initiative as it was selected for national recognition at the White House Faith-Based and Community Initiatives National Summit on Prisoner Reentry in Los Angeles.
To date, 62 inmates began the program and 57 have been gainfully employed, earning over $350,000 in 90 days. These same workers have paid approximately $170,000 in arrear child support payments.
“The workforce system and the partners involved in this project have been an invaluable asset to the development of the detention center workforce. The inmates completing the welding training earn a credential and acquire a skill that will lead to employment opportunities well above minimum wage enabling them to take care of their families and decrease the chance they will return to jail. Through this program three classes have successfully completed training and are working, supporting their children, and contributing to their community,” said Lt Marvin Gallant, Charleston County Detention Center.
The Trident Workforce Investment Board invested almost $200,000 in Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds for this welding initiative. Certified instructors Jacky Marks and Allen Crosby from TTC teach the 6-week welding skills training program that provides trainees with the skills needed to acquire their welding certification.
“Overall, the program has met with great success. Three detention center classes have been conducted with special emphasis on attracting incarcerated females to non¬traditional employment opportunities. The education providers and the One Stop Career System responded quickly to fill an urgent need from regional employers. They identified inmates as a talent pool to train as welders. This was a creative solution for all partners,” said Connerty.
“This program serves as a model and can be replicated as a pre-release vocational training program that has a proven history of reducing the rate of recidivism, increasing the frequency of child support payments, and contributing to the local economy.”
The Trident Workforce Investment Board (TWIB) provides resources to support regional businesses and train workers with advanced skills to meet regional workforce challenges through the Trident One Stop Career System. The Trident One Stop Career System is a nationally recognized workforce development system staffed by some of the best trained workforce professionals in the nation.
The goal of the One-Stop Career System is to improve the quality of the workforce and enhance workforce productivity to aid in the growth of the region’s economy. The Trident One-Stop Career Center is located at 1930 Hanahan Road in North Charleston. Satellite Centers are located in Moncks Corner, Summerville and Charleston. For more information on available services and programs or to find the center nearest to you, call 843-574-1800