Rock Valley College’s TechWorks Training Initiative offers Winnebago County inmates job skills training

Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 6:55 PM CST
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WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. (WIFR) - A new education initiative hopes to inspire change and teach new skills to our area’s prison system.

“We take a hopeless situation and we’re turning it into a very successful situation,” said Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana.

Partnering with Rock Valley College, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office is gearing up to launch TechWorks Training Initiative, giving inmates hands-on training in machinery, as they prepare for life after incarceration.

“If you look at the history of Rockford, Rockford is and was very rich in the manufacturing business. So, we’re really thrilled to be able to give back to the community; Winnebago County, Rockford region and put them out with this skill set,” said Caruana.

Rock Valley College leaders say the 7 week program focuses on strengthening skills that can transform the lives of prisoners and their families, in hopes of curbing recidivism rates in the Rockford region.

“Success is contagious. And if we can help an individual experience success, then they are more likely to share that experience with their household,” said Dr. Howard Spearman, Rock Valley College President.

“This is about changing paradigms that could make this community stronger and also to increase the workforce talent that we have, which gives us the ability to recruit other businesses, which makes us stronger as a community,” said Christopher Lewis, RVC Vice President of Workforce Development.

Leaders of the program say they hope to get 56 inmates through the program in the first year, where they will get a certificate to enter into the machining industry.

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