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Growing Hope - Clover Park Technical College
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  Cristeen Crouchet, Director Workforce Development
  Clover Park Technical College, WA



Clover Park Technical College (CPTC), in partnership with the Northwestern Joint Regional Correctional Facility (NWJRCF) on Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), is delivering an innovative educational program that brings transformational training to incarcerated military personnel. CPTC is a two-year technical college located in Lakewood, WA just a few miles north of JBLM. It is wrapping up the first year of its second five-year contract to provide hands-on vocational training to prisoners in the NWJRCF medium-security military correctional facility on base. Built in 1955, the NWJRCF houses prisoners serving 1-10 year sentences who have been convicted by a court martial. For the past five years, the college has provided higher education certificates of completion that carry college-level credit through hands-on programs in Horticulture and Landscaping, Carpentry, Barbering and Small Engine Repair. These programs are taught by CPTC instructors who are not only skilled in their field, but passionate about the work they do with the prisoners and the transformations they see in those who enter and exit their programs.

All four vocational programs run for a year and incorporate classroom lectures with intensive hands-on learning, allowing the students to actually produce products and outcomes that demonstrate their mastery of the skills involved. Using the skills acquired in their respective training programs, the prisoners provide goods and services for individuals within the facility, on the base at large, and within the local community. Each of the programs produces specific end items or provides services that contribute to the facility and units within JBLM. The Horticulture/Landscaping Program, which is the focus of this NCWE Exemplary Program Award submission, works in conjunction with the base employees to assist with base beautification/plant propagation and grounds maintenance as well as producing crops.

The Horticulture/Landscaping program’s curriculum is infused with opportunities for inmate students to learn entrepreneurial skills as they develop their vocational skills, thereby supporting students who have an interest in owning and operating their own small business upon release. Students who complete the full training program in which they are enrolled, but who are not yet due for release, can continue in their program as a teaching assistant subject to approval by the instructor and appropriate NWJRCF staff; this hones leadership, communication, and teamwork skills.

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