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    Educational Programming

    The Education Section is an integral part of overall prisoner employment readiness.  The Office of Employment Readiness provides academic, technical, and workplace skills training for prisoners of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) to enhance their ability to acquire and maintain a job upon release.  This is accomplished within a continuous quality improvement environment to ensure cost containment while providing the most effective programs. 

    The MDOC operates 31 schools and provides educational opportunities to over 7,500 prisoners each day.  A brief description of the available programs is outlined below:

    Academic Education - MCL 791.233 (PA 320) requires prisoners to obtain a GED prior to parole.  Adult Basic Education (ABE) and General Education Development (GED) programs allow prisoners the opportunity to earn a GED while incarcerated. Classes are open entry/open exit in order to meet the students' needs.  All classes are taught by certified teachers.

    English as a Second Language (ESL) -  This program is offered to prisoners for whom English is not their native language and who are functioning below a 5th grade level in reading as measured by the state-approved assessment tools. 

    Special Education Services - Special Education Services are provided as required by the federally mandated Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA). Eligible students whom are under the age of 22 receive services.  All special education classes are taught by certified special education teachers. 

    Career and Technical Education (CTE) - CTE programs provide prisoners with specific trade's instruction, technical skills, and soft skill competencies critical to finding and maintaining employment. These programs are transferable and can be used in future jobs or in future educational opportunities. CTE programs offer open entry and exit enrollment.  Each program is filled to a maximum and waiting lists are kept minimal so that each prisoner can achieve educational goals as efficiently and economically as possible. Trade programs are responsive to labor market demands, collaborative with Michigan State Industries, articulated with Community Colleges, and supportive of the Career Readiness Certifications.  The following trade classes are currently being offered:

    Auto Body                                                                    Food Technology

    Auto Mechanics                                                           Horticulture

    Building Trades                                                           Machine Tool

    Business Education Technology                                 Optical Technology

    Custodial Maintenance                                                Welding

    Post-Secondary Classes - The MDOC currently has two community college opportunities for prisoners.  Jackson Community College and Montcalm Community College provide courses that are taught by college instructors and are identical to classes offered in the community.  The prisoners or approved sponsors must pay for all courses and supplies. Post-Secondary opportunities will be expanding to offer more college courses in the future. 

    Correspondence Courses - Prisoners and/or their families have the option of paying for correspondence classes offered by accredited universities or colleges as approved by the facility warden and principal. 

    Pre- Release - This course introduces prisoners to employability skills, soft skills competencies, employment preparedness, life skills, and community resources.  A collaboration of community and facility resources are used to enhance learning outcomes.  Prisoners are provided with the opportunity to participate in pre-release programming and to develop a portfolio within one year of scheduled community re-entry.

    State Correctional Opportunities for Rehabilitation and Education (SCORE)/Prison Build- Prisoners gain valuable building experience while constructing cabins, cabinets, and housing components for state agencies and nonprofit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.  Horticulture students gain experience growing landscaping plants for Habitat projects, and native plants and trees for the Department of Natural Resources, and a variety of other projects. 

    For additional information regarding Prisoner Education, please see PD 05.02.112 - Educational Programs for Prisoners; PD 05.02.114 - Special Education Services for Prisoners; PD 05.02.115 - Special Education Procedural Safeguards; and PD 05.02.119, Correspondence Courses.


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