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Community partnership allowed offenders to build homes...and a future

2012-08-27

KINGSTON – Twelve offenders from Pittsburgh Institution participated in a unique opportunity to give back to the community while receiving vocational training in carpentry, preparing for a career in the skilled trades industry.

St. Lawrence College, in partnership with CORCAN’s Employment and Employability Program (EEP) and Habitat for Humanity, delivered a Carpentry Pre-Employment program for carefully selected offenders, who were granted a community service escorted temporary absence (ETA) in order to assist Habitat for Humanity in the building of a duplex for two deserving families in the Bath, Ontario community.

Through St. Lawrence College’s Corporate Learning and Performance Improvement (CLPI) team, offenders received formal vocational training from an on-site instructor and obtained third-party educational certification in Fall Protection, WHMIS, Confined Space Awareness, and the new Occupational Health and Safety Act. Offenders who participated in the program essentially became college students and, at the end of the 8-week program, “graduated” with the training and certifications that are meaningful for employers.

“We are proud to be working in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and CORCAN. The work of providing skills and training to offenders and supporting their successful reintegration into the workforce while supporting the housing for those most in need in our community is a privilege we are committed to continuing,” said Charlie Mignault, Director of Business Development, Corporate Learning and Performance Improvement at St. Lawrence College.

In this Habitat for Humanity build project, offenders received on-the-job training in construction safety, framing, window and door installation, measuring, cutting, nailing, roof truss assembly, roofing installation, siding, fascia and trim and a variety of other carpentry skills. Offenders also gained a number of invaluable employability skills, including teamwork, punctuality, communication, problem solving, and leadership.

“This opportunity has allowed us to give back to the community and will make it easier for us to get back into society. The work skills and certifications I received on this project will open doors for future employment and help me get back on track,” said Ryan, an offender on a community service escorted temporary absence (ETA) from the Pittsburgh Institution who participated in the Carpentry Pre-Employment program and Building Program.

“Habitat for Humanity’s Building Program is designed to break the cycle of poverty through home ownership. This Community Partnership not only changed the lives of two families but also the lives of twelve inmates and their respective families,” said John Alkenbrack, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Kingston.

In the past, St. Lawrence College and Habitat for Humanity have partnered with CORCAN on a variety of other opportunities for offenders to enhance their job readiness and employment skills. Offenders have worked at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, participating in major renovations to the store, assisting overall within the organization, and providing customer service. Offenders have also received vocational training from St. Lawrence College in heavy equipment, landscape techniques, construction, solar energy installer, small engine repair, and more.

CORCAN, a key rehabilitation program of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), provide employment training and employability skills to offenders in federal correctional institutions.

“The goal was to find a way to provide meaningful employability skills and on the job training to prepare offenders for the current job market ,” said Scott Coombs, CORCAN Employment and Employability. “The partnership with Habitat for Humanity and St Lawrence College allowed us to do this by moving the classroom to the job site.”

Contacts:

St. Lawrence College
Mr. David Ashton, Manager, Community Outreach and Corporate Learning
613-544-5400 3317

Habitat for Humanity Kingston
Mr. John Alkenbrack, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Kingston
613-548-8763

CORCAN
Mr. Scott Coombs, CORCAN Employment and Employability
613-329-9901

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About St. Lawrence College
Located along the shores of the St. Lawrence River, SLC has three campuses in Brockville, Cornwall and Kingston. St. Lawrence College boasts 6,500 full-time students from Canada, and more than 40 countries worldwide. Our college community includes 20,000 part-time students, 1,000 staff, and more than 70,000 alumni. We also serve more than 3,000 Employment Services clients annually. The college has recently invested in the development of Applied Research with many exciting projects in progress. In addition revitalization of our campuses is underway to support new and innovate new programs including; Wind Turbine Technician, Game Development Technician, and Fine Arts, among others.

Denise Wing
Communications Officer
Marketing & Communications
St. Lawrence College
Brockville, Cornwall, Kingston
T 613-345-0660, ext. 2261
dwing@sl.on.ca