Minnesota companies looking to fill open positions in their technology workforce should look toward C-Tech Certified individuals re-entering society from the Lino Lakes and Moose Lake Correctional Facilities. Studies say that when people find gainful employment after incarceration, they are far less likely to recidivate. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Department of Corrections (DOC) were present at a panel that took place recently at the Lino Lakes facility to see just how the State Prison sets its population up for success after leaving.

“If we truly want safer communities, people coming out of prison must have what they need to live, become and stay employed, and be able to support themselves and their families,” Minnesota DOC Commissioner Paul Schnell said. “Over 95% of those in prison today will return to their families and communities. This is a strategy to help ensure a successful transition to prevent future crime. That’s why we prioritize getting incarcerated men and women the skills, training, and education they need to be ready to work on the day they leave prison.”

“Minnesota’s unemployment rate is the lowest in the nation and Minnesota companies are looking for qualified workers to fill open positions in a variety of fields,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “Many Minnesota companies have realized that people transitioning back into the community after serving their time are often well-trained and highly skilled. Companies with positions to fill have a real opportunity to help improve community safety in Minnesota while also filling a need they have in their company.”

Each year, 600 students graduate from the Minnesota Department of Corrections with credentials and certifications provided by robust  Career and Technical Education programs throughout the facilities. These credentials help returning citizens transition back into the community and find reliable employment.

During the event, Commissions Schnell and Grove took a tour of the DOC’s C-Tech Training Programs, which give students hands-on, real-word training and provide industry-recognized certifications in various broadband telecommunications, copper cabling, and fiber optic technologies, energy management, grounding and bonding safety techniques, 5G wireless technologies, and demand-driven employability skills. C-Tech addresses the labor gap in technology by teaching Lino Lake’s students employable skills. A variety of Minnesota employers have hired many students that have completed the training because of the practical hands-on nature of the C-Tech Certified training curriculum.

“The students we have hired who are transitioning back to the community are some of the best-trained new employees we have,” Maxi Tumusiime, senior recruiter for Greenheck Group, said. “They have great knowledge, are highly-skilled, and are ready to work from the first day they start working for us.”

Lino Lakes Correctional Facility C-Tech Certified Instructor Betty Rios-Christensen explains in the video above how she uses C-Tech Programs to give her students a new outlook on life and a foundation for a great career!

Betty begins by explaining how the facility teaches the C-Tech curriculum over eight months. They start with Introduction to Telecommunications.

After getting the Telecommunication Foundation down, students segway into Copper Systems, learning about punchdowns, testing, troubleshooting, and more, before beginning the Fiber Systems Curriculum.

“This is it!” Betty exclaims in the video as she discusses the fiber program, which teaches students fiber splicing and troubleshooting, amongst other fiber connectivity essentials.

After completing fiber, the students learn energy conservation best practices with Energy management, NEC codes, and OSHA safety with Grounding and Bonding and remote connectivity with Wireless.

Betty then highlights our capstone program, Connecting to Business and the Workers with Convictions Corrections specific add-on curriculum, explaining how valuable it is to teach returning citizens how to market themselves with a record.

Lino Lakes offers many opportunities to its student base, including mock interviews and the ability to dual major with other programs.

Thank you to the Minnesota Department of Corrections – Lino Lakes and Moose Lake facilities, along with Betty and Derek, for being valuable instructors of the C-Tech Certified Training Programs!

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