IWCC Reports Progress in Second Chance Pell Program | New

(Clarinda) – Officials at Iowa Western Community College hope to expand a program that provides prisoners with educational opportunities.

Recently, Iowa Western President Dr. Daniel Kinney met with officials at Clarinda Correctional Facility regarding the progress of the Pell second chance experimentation program. Iowa Western is one of 73 colleges and universities nationwide participating in the third round of the program. Launched by the Obama administration in 2015, the program aims to expand access to federal Pell grants for incarcerated individuals enrolled in participating programs. Currently, prisoners strive to obtain an industrial training certificate, allowing them to enter the labor market after their incarceration. Speaking on KMA’s “Morning Line” program, Kinney said school and prison officials are considering expanding into other opportunities.

“First, we’re looking at doing CDL with them,” Kinney said. “I believe they’re going to open a new kitchen in the next couple of years. We’re going to expand some areas of culinary arts for them, to try to consider training there. We’re looking at welding. Honestly, we’re really looking at what we can do about an EHIC-like program for them too.”

CEAM stands for Center of Excellence for Advanced Manufacturing. Kinney says the idea is to give prisoners job skills and reduce recidivism.

“We try to provide them with certificates in the stacking area, so once they get parole they can find jobs and get back on their feet a little faster,” he said.

Kinney says similar programs have been successful at other institutions.

“A previous institution where I was, we did it there,” Kinney said. “We’re one of the first institutions to be able to do that. The numbers of what you’ve seen going out and not coming back into the system are incredible. It provides them with that.”

Previously, Iowa Western worked with Clarinda Prison to offer non-credit courses for high school equivalency diplomas.

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Ryan H. Bowman