AK DOC Today

News, Events, and Activities in the Alaska Department of Corrections

Job Training Program Puts Prisoners Behind (Re)bars

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.