Recently established by the federal government, Second Chance Month takes place throughout the month of April, and reaffirms the importance of helping those who were formerly incarcerated, reenter society.
According to the White House press release, over 640,000 people are released from State and Federal prisons each year. Currently, more than 70 million Americans have a criminal record, creating significant barriers to employment, economic stability, and successful reentry into society. As a result, nearly 75% of people who were formerly incarcerated remain unemployed a year after being released.
Affirming its desire to support those seeking employment post-release, the RV Technical Institute has been establishing its hands-on, competency-based technician training program among the incarcerated population, specifically with the Westville Correctional Facility, located in Indiana, and the Linda Woodman State Jail in Texas. The goal is twofold: the RV industry delivers a greater number of qualified service technicians while previously incarcerated individuals leave with a new skillset, prepared to enter the workforce upon their release.
“The program looks to be gaining positive attention with the rest of the prison population,” said Shane Schwartzkopf, an RVTI instructor at the Westville facility. “In the future I look to expand the program into other facilities in the area, if possible, and to generate a plethora of skilled technicians willing and able to begin their careers within the RV industry.”
Graduates of the Westville program also participate in the Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry (HIRE) program. The program offers job readiness training, such as resume development, interviewing, job application assistance, employment assessments, financial literacy and budgeting, computer/digital literacy, employability skills and workplace conflict resolution. HIRE representatives will work directly with the returning citizen and potential employers in the RV industry for job placement.
At the Linda Woodman State Jail in Gatesville, Texas, there is a similar level of enthusiasm surrounding the program. Ten former inmates, who are the first class of incarcerated students in the nation to graduate as level one RV technicians, are working with local RV dealers to find employment.
“They get to learn a very in-demand field and trade that whenever they graduate, they will have the certification, the education, the skills needed that they can take this when they are released back to their communities and they can find a job,” said Windham School District Communications Administrator Amanda Coleman.
“The RV industry has grown exponentially over the last few years with record shipments and millions more planning to go RVing,” says RV Technical Institute Executive Director Curt Hemmeler. “As a result, there are more career opportunities in the service technician field. The RV Technical Institute is excited to partner with the Indiana Department of Correction and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and we hope this will lead to both an increased number of qualified RV technicians. Additionally, we’re excited our program will help provide a second chance for those who were formerly incarcerated, giving them a second chance as they reenter into society.”
Interested in becoming more involved with service technician training? Check out the RV Technical Institute’s Authorized Learning Partner (ALP) program. Our ALPs are a network of regional training partners approved to deliver the Institute's standardized training on a local or regional basis. Learning Partners have access to the programs full curriculum, training materials, learning management system and testing, as well as training from the RV Technical Institute's staff on how to track student progress and deliver the curriculum. For more information contact us at 574-549-9080 or RVTIemail@example.com.