News, Events, and Activities in the Alaska Department of Corrections
On September 12th, seven Hiland Mountain Correctional Center students graduated from the apprentice training located in Anchorage. Jennifer Backus graduated as an indentured apprentice and was immediately put to work at a Local 751 Ironworker project. Local 751’s apprenticeship two week training consisted of: OSHA 10 and Forklift / Aerial lift, North Slope Training Certifications, Welding and Oxy-acetylene cutting and reinforcing concrete training.
“This project was one of the most rewarding experiences,” said CJP Gary Olsen. “It was true ‘community involvement.’ I didn’t know anything about the tasks an ironworker performs. Then Anthony (Local 751 Program Coordinator Anthony Ladd) explained the career and the rewards for its laborers. The work is physically demanding but you feel really connected to the community when you have built a building that everyone can use, such as a school or hospital. This process gave me more confidence the public respects what the Department is doing to reduce recidivism.”
The Department’s education planner led the collaborative effort, which included Ladd, Paul Carr from the Alaska Ironworkers local 751, and the Department of Labor. Funding was provided by the Department of Labor’s grant process for State Training and Employment Program (STEP). The purpose of STEP is to enhance the quality and make Alaska job training and employment assistance easily available to employers, employees, and future workers. The State Training and Employment Program is administered by the Alaska Department of Labor’s Division of Business Partnerships and funded by a set-aside from the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.
The Ironworkers’ two-week program was designed to introduce participants to the trade. Ladd’s goal was to recruit and train professional Ironworkers who could perform above and beyond the industry standards. After the initial 2 week apprentice training, local 751 hoped to place qualified applicants into the apprenticeship program granted they meet all requirements.
Training is an ongoing process of learning, teaching, and the application of what one has learned or taught. Always seek opportunities to learn new skills or train with the skills that you have. The Training division has been working to provide training opportunities for our employees. During the month of August a Basic Rifle course was held with 20 students attending. This week long block of instruction was entertaining and challenging for the participants. All 20 students passed receiving a 40 hour Basic Rifle Course certification. During the week the students were exposed to the concepts of basic marksmanship, shooting on the move, operating as a team, moving from one point of cover to another and safe weapons operation. The students were also exposed to the mud, wind, rain, and yes a little bit of sunshine. All in all they had a very good week.
Good Training never takes a break; right on the heels of the Basic Rifle Course Probation Officers from across the state gathered for the PO firearms recertification. Two days of nice weather and some good training concerning cover and concealment, deployment from a vehicle, and team tactics were covered. This was a great opportunity to roll out the new qualification course. Positive feedback was received and everyone who attended passes with the required 90 % qualification score for firearms instructors.
A few days later CO Academy 125 hit the shotgun range for a week of basic shotgun manipulation and qualification. During the week of training we see students develop confidence, and a mindset of survival. As trainers and line coaches we see students helping and encouraging each other learning how to work as a team to accomplish common goals. This carries over into the working relationships they develop through the years with coworkers. The concept of teamwork is imparted early in the academy and remains a theme throughout their training and hopefully their careers. Other courses offered in the academy include communications, report writing, mental health and suicide prevention, substance abuse issues, diversity training and direct supervision just to name a few.
CO Academy 125 will be graduating on Friday September 26, 2014 as always family, friends and staff is encouraged to attend. Graduation will be held at Palmer Municipal Building located at 350 E. Dahlia Street in Palmer, Alaska. As stated earlier training never takes a break, CO Academy 126 will began Monday September 29, 2014. Currently there are 40 students enrolled in this session. We look forward to the training and development of these 40 new officers.
—PO III Caroline Stevens
Goose Creek Correctional Center reports the arrival of a roost full of chicks and a dozen or so baby pigs at its Point Mac Farm. Although Point Mac Farm no longer houses prisoners, it employs many prisoners as it continues in full farm operation.
—CJT Cathy O’Brien
On August 1st the Department of Corrections Training Academy reached a milestone. Under the command of Lieutenant Jake Wyckoff, the Training Academy hosted the largest Prisoner Transport Academy to date. Twenty-eight candidates attended and successfully completed the course. To attend PTO training the officer candidates are nominated by their supervisors, selected by the institution and must pass a psychological exam. On the first day of class students are required to pass a physical standard test and shotgun qualification to remain in the Prisoner Transport Officer Academy. During the four weeks of training officers are exposed to a variety of information and skill sets directly related to their new responsibilities. Officers attending the PTO Academy work together to learn new skills and overcome difficulties while developing friendships that will last throughout their career. During the Academy student performance is constantly evaluated. It is with pride that we announce the Class Valedictorian for the Prisoner Transport Academy #25, Joseph Smith from Palmer Correctional Complex. Congratulations on a job well done.
— PO III Caroline Stevens
Ketchikan Correctional Center celebrated Probation Officer week on July 17 by having a grilled halibut barbeque for all staff, community members and area probation officers. The weather was fantastic and the event was much appreciated by the local probation offices.
— Superintendent Jessica Mathews