FRANKFORT, Ky. — Through a collaborative effort among Kentucky’s Executive leadership, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Derrick K. Ramsey, Labor Cabinet Secretary David A. Dickerson, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley are joining forces to launch a training and re-entry program for Kentucky inmates.
Cabinet officials along with leadership from Barren County, the Kentucky Department of Corrections and representatives of Johnson Controls will launch a training re-entry program for inmates at the Barren County Corrections Center. This program will provide the more than 16,000 Kentuckians who are incarcerated each year with the necessary skills and training to successfully re-enter the state’s workforce.
“We remain committed to providing employers with a highly skilled, highly qualified workforce and recognize that the key to Kentucky’s economic growth is through educational and career training programs designed to foster success in the workforce,” said Kentucky Education Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Derrick Ramsey. “By raising the education and skill level of individuals who are incarcerated, we are able to create a pathway for individuals to successfully re-enter Kentucky’s workforce while lowering recidivism through re-entry training and education.”
Through this partnership, Johnson Controls will work with county officials to reduce energy costs in county-owned facilities, and apply the savings to a high-demand job sector skills training program operated by Johnson Controls at the Barren County Corrections Center. Eligible inmates will have an opportunity to gain extensive HVAC experience, and receive a trade certification creating a career pathway to successfully re-integrate into the state’s workforce upon release.
“Kentucky’s commitment to offender re-entry is stronger than ever – both in state government and in the private sector,” said Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley. “This innovative partnership will not only provide a stronger workforce and crucial training to inmates, it will pay untold dividends in public safety by helping lower recidivism.”
The Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and Justice and Public Safety Cabinet will each play an integral part in overseeing this program in addition to Secretary Dickerson, former Barren County Judge-Executive, who played a key role in facilitating this groundbreaking partnership.
“This is the exact type of ‘outside-the-box’ thinking we need to realize Governor Matt Bevin’s vision of making Kentucky a top attraction for economic investment and growth,” said Secretary Dickerson. “I am honored to work with so many committed partners toward making this opportunity a reality for this community.”
“We are excited about the partnership and what it can do to change lives in not only Barren County, but throughout the Commonwealth,” added Micheal Hale, Barren County Judge-Executive.
Founded in 1885, Johnson Controls is a global technology and energy company with customers in more than 150 countries. Through the Johnson Controls Training Institute, the company provides a high-quality learning experience that enables attendees to work in today’s industry environment and to prepare for changes and innovations in the future.
“Our mission is to help identify ways to help our customers reduce utility and operational costs,” stated Phillip Lowery, Johnson Controls’ North American Director of State Government. “Through programs like Energy Savings Performance Contracting, we are able to guarantee those cost reductions, and in turn, monetize the efficiencies for capital renewal needs and funding re-entry programs like that proposed for Barren County.”
This partnership is part of a continuous effort among cabinet leadership to enhance Kentucky’s workforce by providing training opportunities to connect Kentucky inmates with skilled jobs as they re-enter society. In 2017, Kentucky launched the Justice to Journeymen Apprenticeship program designed to place inmates on track to earn a nationally recognized journeyman credential while in prison.