Nine Incarcerated Men At Evans Correctional Institution Receive Workforce Certificates

Nine incarcerated men at Evans Correctional Institution received workforce certificates in business and industrial technology from Northeastern Technical College (NETC) at a graduation ceremony held August 9.
The ceremony was the second of its kind for the college and the prison, made possible by the Department of Education’s Second Chance Pell Experiment, which allows incarcerated individuals to receive federal financial aid for higher education, increasing access to college.
In 2016, NETC was selected as one of 67 colleges in the United States to participate in a pilot program, which allowed incarcerated individuals to tap into their potential and gain the education and training while in prison so they can find employment following release. Due to the success of the experiment, funding eligibility will expand in 2023 to include incarcerated individuals in correctional facilities throughout South Carolina. One graduate spoke about his pride upon completing his program as well as his appreciation to the SC Department of Corrections and NETC for making the opportunity possible.
“Today is a history day at Evans Correctional, we are acknowledging the success of a few believers, who became achievers in their educational pursuit. History has shown that success is not achieved by doing nothing, but the result of exercising belief, perserverance, and endless efforts to accomplish what seemed impossible,” he said. “Northeastern Technical College provided us the opportunity to obtain educational credentials that will indeed enhance our possibilities for success in life as productive returning citizens.”
“Knowledge that is earned, is knowledge that cannot be discredited or even taken away. I stand proud with these men graduating today, we have accomplished our goals through belief, perserverance, and effort,” he continued.
NETC has now expanded curriculum to include stackable workforce programs in order for students to gain workforce skills, employable knowledge, and life-long learning opportunities that “stack” upon other educational opportunities to create associate and bachelor degrees. “Our department couldn’t have success with recidivism without education and job skills programs like this one,” SCDC Director Bryan Stirling said. “I want to thank our colleagues at Northeastern Tech and the staff at Evans for making this program so successful. It wasn’t always easy to work through the limitations of the pandemic, but they stayed the course and provided the leadership and structure to help build a better life for our graduates and their families.” A study from RAND, first conducted in 2013 and updated in 2018, found that access to postsecondary education in prison can reduce recidivism by up to 48 percent, which ultimately leads to safer communities and less of a financial burden for taxpayers.

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