Building Trades at RCF

The Rockville Correctional Facility (RCF) offers many re-entry programs designed to reduce recidivism and aid in the offender’s reintegration to the community.  These programs range from cognitive self-change to therapeutic communities, faith and character-based initiatives and educational opportunities.

Once such example of the latter is Building Trades, a vocational program offered to RCF offenders through Oakland City University’s (OCU) partnership with the Indiana Department of Correction.  Building Trades or Building Maintenance is a 350 hour program designed to prepare the offender for transition into a post-secondary or apprenticeship program while providing industry recognized credentials.

Participants of this vocational endeavor will receive 10 hours of OSHA training and certification as well as training in over 40 areas of construction and maintenance including basic plumbing, electrical and construction.  Upon completion, the offenders are eligible for a 90 day reduction in sentence; however, if you ask the current participants, you might find the dividend is worth much more than the investment of time.

OCU Building Trades instructor Don Kuk explains that the offenders not only learn the skills they need to obtain gainful employment, but they come away with a sense of pride, accomplishment and self-confidence they didn’t have before.  “They’re very proud of the work they do, especially when they receive special requests from other facilities.”

Recently, the Building Trades participants at RCF completed multiple construction projects including a bookcase for the RCF Culinary Arts department, a shoe shine chair donated to another facility, computer tables used at yet another IDOC facility, and furniture made from recycled skids for another re-entry program at RCF.  Their current project is a gazebo for outside the RCF recreation building.  Most of these projects were completed within 1-2 weeks.  Some, like the furniture and the gazebo required months of time.

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