The opportunity to learn skills to re enter society is not something every inmate gets.
But the Kewanee Life Skills Re-entry Center is giving inmates the chance to get into an industry where they are needed with a first-of-its-kind manufacturing class.
“The objective is to give them skills that people walking into a manufacturing environment don’t have,” said Terry Loughrin, who teaches the class. Give them an advantage. The particular advantage circles around the idea that if manufacturing is going to be competitive in this country, we have to do things better.
The class teaches them skill like metrology, robotics and different kinds of mechanical and electrical systems.
But with a teacher as experienced in the manufacturing world as theres is in something something, thats not all they’re learning.
“I focus a lot on problem solving skills, developing teamwork, understanding how to participate in continuous improvement programs,” said Loughrin. “Things that are popular subjects in manufacturing that really they’re asking their workforce to buy into.”
And the opportunity isn’t lost on any of them.
With class for six hours a day and sometimes up to three hours of homework, they all take the work very seriously.
For some like Ricky Hamilton who have been in prison for a while, this is helping him move forward.
“Individuals who are like myself that are about to re-enter society coming from prison, I believe that the manufacturing field is a great field to get into because, with kind of a short amount of training we can get into some careers that can provide us with some great opportunities to never come back to prison again,” said Ricky Hamilton, a student currently in the program.
And the end goal for Hamilton is to be able to pay it back.
“Hopefully being somebody else’s boss and being able to train guys like myself, because I believe I want to get into a position where I could potentially hire guys coming out of prison and bring them into the manufacturing field as well,” said Hamilton. “Because I believe this is a solution a lot of us can use.”