The Vocational Village is a first-of-its-kind skilled trades training program that aims to provide a positive learning community for prisoners who are serious about completing career and technical education.

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The first Vocational Village site opened in 2016 at Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility, a level II, medium security prison in Ionia.  A second site was launched in 2017 at Parnall Correctional Facility, a level I prison in Jackson.

When operating at full capacity, the Vocational Village at Handlon Correctional Facility has 165 vocational trade students, 27 vocational trade tutors and 12 building trade workers. The Vocational Village site at Parnall Correctional Facility has the capacity for 240 vocational trade students and 32 trade tutors.

Prisoners participating in Vocational Village programming are housed together one unit that acts as a therapeutic learning environment that supports their success.

By housing prisoners together who share a common goal of improving their lives through education, a positive and productive environment has been created. Housing the prisoners together offers many advantages such as the opportunity to discuss educational topics during non-class time, eating together and attending other programs and leisure time activities.

Prisoners have full days of training and classroom instruction intended to mimic a typical workday outside prison walls, and will receive state and nationally-recognized certifications in their trade.