Rutherford County gives offenders opportunity for a second chance

New job training program graduates 12

A graduation ceremony was held on March 9th at the Rutherford County Correctional Work Center that graduated 12 men from the first-ever Rutherford County Project Second Chance job training program.

The program provides currently incarcerated individuals, who are 90-120 days away from completing their sentence, the opportunity to gain the manufacturing industry training and certifications needed to have a meaningful and sustainable career path in the local workforce.

With a 2.8 percent unemployment rate in Rutherford County, some local employers find it challenging to maintain a pipeline of well-trained and career-ready individuals. Project Second Chance aims to bridge that gap. The pilot for this program, which began on January 3, culminated with all 12 participants receiving interviews with Ingram Content Group, Kasai and CalSonic Kansei for current and future job openings.

All participants earned the OSHA 10 certification, while 11 earned the National Career Readiness Certificate and eight successfully completed one module of a four-part Manufacturing Skill Standards Council certification.

“Success in transitioning back to the community requires helping offenders change their criminogenic thinking behaviors, addressing self-esteem issues, providing positive mentorship, offering educational and job training opportunities, and connecting them with community resources,” said Rutherford County Correctional Work Center Superintendent William Cope.

“Our vision for a successful re-entry program for offenders is being fulfilled,” said Adult Detention Center Deputy Chief Bernard Salandy. Project Second Chance was made possible with the support and partnership of state, community and local companies. The Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, American Job Center, Rutherford County Adult Detention Center and Rutherford County Correctional Work Center continue to seek partners as they move forward with the next cohort of individuals in this program. For more information, please call Beth Duffield at 615-278-2326.

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