Windham School District offers females expanded course offerings, career options
Expansion of job training programs for female offenders is unfolding in Gatesville, according to Windham School District (WSD) administrators.
"WSD is proud to offer new programming for female offenders incarcerated at units in Gatesville," said Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department administrator Rick Jones. All programming is part of Windham's continued efforts to provide cutting edge career and technical education.
"There are no limits to the success women trained in these programs can achieve. They are enthusiastically participating and their instructors are impressed with their advancing skill levels."
Jones said eligible offenders are offered "a relevant and effective" selection of training opportunities by WSD:
Welding — WSD offers a National Council on Construction Education Research (NCCER) certification program designed to provide students with entry level skills required to become a welder in today's competitive industrial/construction market. Students receive training in different facets of the industry through an industry-approved curriculum. Course lengths run from 360-480 hours of instruction, and students completing all curriculum skills will be awarded a nationally-recognized certification through the NCCER. The welding program is targeted to begin prior to January, 2019.
Truck Driving — WSD is in the development stages of providing a Texas commercial drivers license truck driving program. Eligible students will be enrolled in a 550-715 hour program of instruction that provides a comprehensive overview of the truck driving industry and skills necessary for licensure. Upon course completion, students will be tested by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) — This program has been in operation at the Gatesville complex since January 2018. It consists of two separate course offerings resulting in multiple certifications. The entry-level certification is HVAC maintenance technician. Students completing this course who desire to improve their skillset may go on to earn certification as a service technician. Both classes range between 230-360 hours of instruction.
Electrical Trades — This program is underway, offering NCCER-approved curricula and teaching students skills necessary to obtain entry level positions in the field. Course length runs from 230-360 hours, and upon completions, students are awarded an NCCER certificate.
Computerized Numeric Control (CNC) Mill and Cabinet Making — This class gives students exposure to CNC systems used in today's mill and cabinet making industry. An added benefit of the class is the attainment of transferrable skills useful in many other industries, as CNC machinery is used in multiple applications and jobs throughout the manufacturing field. Multiple certifications are available for students enrolled in this program, and course lengths run from 275-460 hours.
Construction Fundamentals — While not a stand-alone trade, Construction Fundamentals is being offered as the entry level activity for all students entering an NCCER-approved program. Combined with OSHA Outreach Certification, students learn the fundamental skills and safety requirements of working in today's construction industry. The class leads to multiple certifications and is 90-110 hours in length.
"People who return to society after incarceration often face difficulty finding work because they lack any training or marketable skills. The CTE classes available to female offenders at the Gatesville complex address this problem," says Luke Ward, CTE Vocational Specialist. "Training addresses a wide range of skills incorporating fundamentals, advanced training and safety training. The goal of these classes, as well as the goal of all WSD programs, is to increase the likelihood for success of students returning to the community. We are proud of the students who take these classes in an effort to seek future employment, transform their lives, and support their families. They are definitely making themselves adaptable and competitive in the workforce."
Editor's Note: Offenders wishing to participate in these programs should send an I-60 to the WSD Counselor at their unit.