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Re-entry center and Ivy Tech Community College team up to train inmates as machinists

Re-entry center and Ivy Tech Community College team up to train inmates as machinists. // WSBT 22 photo

It's a partnership that is changing lives!

The South Bend Community Re-Entry Center and Ivy Tech Community College are teaming up to train inmates as machinists.

Ivy Tech Community College has hosted three classes so far for residents at the South Bend Community Re-Entry Center. All with the hopes that when these men are done serving their time, they will be able to be a productive part of society.

"It's given me an opportunity that I feel is a blessing," said Troy Horn.

According to his teacher, Horn is one of the top students in a CNC class at Ivy Tech Community College.

"I've been locked up for three and a half years and I have about seven months left to go," said Horn.

He's also serving time for drug addiction at the South Bend Community Re-Entry Center.

"It’s very relevant,” said Gregory Witter. “There's a demand right now for CNC operators machinists. This is an entry level positions but it’s a good stepping stone for a future career."

The South Bend Community Re-Entry Center and Ivy Tech partnered up about six months ago to train inmates as machinists.

"Some of these men came from nothing, don't have much of an educational background,” said Cristina Stobaugh with the South Bend Community Re-Entry Center. “Being able to come into this environment and learn new things, it’s a whole new life."

Isaiah Wheeler, serving one year for lack of child support, says because of this program he now has an amazing opportunity for himself and his family as a CNC operator.

"It’s always good when your able to take a trade and further your education,” said Wheeler. “I learned a lot from this class."

Witter says every one of these students are hard workers and in fact one of his best classes.

"They actually put forth an effort. I wish all my students would put forth the kind of effort they put forth," said Witter.

This program gives each one of them a second chance,

"Every one of these guys are coming back to our community," said Stobaugh.

As for Horn, he says this CNC training is his ticket to a better and brighter future.

"My desire to do this has overcome my desire to do drugs,” said Horn. “I will stay out of drugs because I don’t want to mess this up."

Every inmate to qualify for this program has to be within 24 months of being released.

They say there's been success. Some of the men released are now working in local factories and have even worked their way up to some supervisor positions.

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