MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Incarcerated students graduated from Madison College’s carpentry program Tuesday morning.
The carpentry program allows jail residents to come to the campus for classes and get a work release. Students started off by building smaller items like tool boxes and benches, then moved into making cornhole games and tiny sheds.
The goal of the program is to reduce the stigma that incarcerated students face and to help them find employment after they are released.
Jamie Reinhart, Education and Program Training Liaison at Madison College, said students can receive the program certificate and a college diploma through the program.
“Really when they’re released it sets them up for success and helps reduce the recidivism rate,” Reinhart said. “So with all of us partnering together, it really is to benefit them.”
Program graduate Raymond Golden said it gives opportunities to inmates, who may not have been given a chance.
“It’s a great opportunity for anybody willing to learn new things or sharpen the skills they have,” Golden said.
He explained that he had started doing carpentry years ago, but had never finished the program. Now, he gets to leave with more skills and hopes to start a small business one day.
“This gave me opportunity to capitalize on my skills and actually finish what I started a long time ago,” Golden said.
He added his favorite project was a birdhouse for his daughter.
The program is a partnership between Madison College, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin and the Department of Workforce Development.