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West Tennessee Facilities Launch Computer Coding Program

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 | 01:27pm

HENNING – In order to provide needed job skills and training to incarcerated individuals to prepare them for future employment, the Tennessee Department of Correction has created a computer coding program in partnership with Persevere, a national non-profit organization.  This pilot program kicked off this week at two facilities located in Henning, Tennessee - West Tennessee State Penitentiary (WTSP) and Women's Therapeutic Residential Center (WTRC).

The Persevere Computer Coding Program, which launched on both sites this week, focuses on computer programming/coding skills, entrepreneurship skills, as well as job placement assistance.  The program consists of a three-phase curriculum that takes 18 months to complete, including 1800 hours of coding instruction, 60 hours of employment readiness, and 120 hours of entrepreneurship training.

WTRC Warden, Trinity Minter, said she is excited to provide more opportunities to female offenders.  “To have this life-changing program available for them shows how much we care about them, their rehabilitation and their success.  This will give them a chance to be employed, making them better citizens in their community.”

As computer programmers/coders are in high demand in the job market, WTSP Associate Warden of Treatment, Todd Buchannan said the program will be a great addition to WTSP.  “I think this program will be a great step to reduce recidivism.  The focus is on direct job market needs and we are glad we can provide the training.”

After an extensive application and interview process 17 women were chosen to start the class at WTRC and 11 men were accepted from WTSP.  Program eligibility and application requirements for offenders included clearing a pre-screening and background check by the facility, they must be held at minimum custody level and must have a maximum of three years from their expiration date.  A written application and in-person interview was required before entering the program.  For security measures the participants will not have access to the internet.