For the first time anywhere in the country, youth detained in a county commitment facility can participate in an education-based program that prepares them for full-fledged apprenticeship upon their release, which could lead to employment.
The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) and the Sacramento County Probation Department have launched a new apprenticeship program at the Sacramento County Boys Ranch, a youth commitment facility, has received approval from the U.S. Department of Labor. This partnership with SCOE creates the first apprenticeship program for detained youth that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. Registered apprenticeship programs are already operating in some state and federal adult correctional facilities.
"In the past, young men released from the Sacramento County Boys Ranch left with few job prospects," said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon. "With the approval from the Labor Department, now we can help these students prepare for careers. This new program offers hope."
Ranch residents eligible to participate will receive extensive professional training in the welding, landscaping, and construction trades. Classroom work coupled with practical application at the Ranch's metal and wood shop will help the youth become qualified to serve in apprenticeship programs sponsored by trade and labor organizations upon their release.
"This one-of-a-kind program will set the standard for apprenticeship-based training and skills building in youth correctional facilities," said U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship Administrator Anthony Swoope. "Providing young people with tangible job skills that lead to well-paid careers can be the deciding factor between success in the real world and a life spent in and out of the justice system."
Apprenticeship training will begin at the Boys Ranch where eligible youth will be selected by school instructors and staff, as well as probation officials. Participants must demonstrate an interest, and their security classification must be such that they are allowed to handle the tools required for the practical part of the course work. Youth in the program will receive proof of hours in training toward their area of interest.
Upon release, youth who complete all aspects of the training program are eligible to pursue a "Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship" from the U.S. Department of Labor. Students released prior to acceptance into an apprenticeship program will receive a "Certificate of Training" verifying the skills and knowledge they received while in the program. Individual trade associations will determine whether a participant's accumulated hours will be accepted completely, or in part, for their apprenticeship training.
"The program allows students hand-on project experience which can motivate them toward pursuing a marketable skill," said Tim Collins, Chief Deputy with the Sacramento County Probation Department and the Probation Office in charge of the Boy's Ranch. "The apprenticeship program is another great addition to the training options offered at the ranch."
The Sacramento County Probation Department, which operates the ranch and is responsible for the care of the youth committed to the facility, will serve as the apprenticeship program sponsor. SCOE, which provides educational and vocational training at the facility, will be responsible for providing the training, overseeing the instruction and program curriculum.
"I think this program will give these students the training and support they need, that they've never had before," said Dennis Morin, Training Director for the Sacramento-area Electrical Training Center Apprenticeship Program. "It creates a bridge to a new life for these young people."
"We have done this for years with adults. I am very excited to be breaking new ground. In my opinion, this will become a model for others to follow," said Mike Longeuay, U.S. Department of Labor Regional Director.
A partial list of local labor and industry supporters for the apprenticeship program includes:
- U.S. Department of Labor
- California Department of Industrial Relations
- Sacramento Valley Workers' Apprenticeship Coordinators Program
- Operating Engineers Local Union #3
- CTC, Inc. – Public Safety Technology Center
- Northern California Drywall Lathing Apprenticeship
- Northern California Carpenters Regional Council
- Sacramento-area Electrical Training Center
- California Professional Firefighters
- Iron Workers
The Sacramento County Boys Ranch is a 24-hour secured commitment facility designed for older, more sophisticated juvenile male wards that have a history of serious or extensive delinquent behavior. Goals of a commitment to Boys Ranch include accountability, counseling, pro-social behavior, and eventual reunification with family.
SCOE provides a junior and senior high school curriculum at the Carson Creek School at Boys Ranch, with high school credits being earned. The school is under the administration and operation of the Sacramento County Board of Education and the Sacramento County Superintendent. The education program utilizes a standards-aligned curriculum and career-technical education to provide a relevant learning experience for students enrolled in the program. The school provides the means for students to develop and implement a success plan in learning, and—in partnership with the Sacramento County Probation Department—prepare for the future without recidivism.