YSU Partners with Correctional Center for Workforce Development

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Fifty inmates recently enrolled in a new workforce development initiative in partnership with Youngstown State University.

Through YSU’s Division of Workforce Education and Innovation, inmates at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown are receiving training to earn certification credentials focused on basic manufacturing concepts, demonstrating potential for high-demand, entry-level manufacturing roles. Northeast Ohio Correctional Center is a medium-security prison for men operated by CoreCivic under contract with the United States Marshals Service and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

“With this partnership, incarcerated individuals will be given the opportunity for reentry with in-demand credentials that truly make them marketable in the workforce,” Lindsey Ekstrand, director of Workforce Education Programs at YSU, said.

“We are going to help to ensure they are connected to employers who see beyond their past and look at the skills they develop and the future they are building for themselves.”

Representatives of YSU met with the NEOCC education team, including Instructor and Supervisor Natalie Grant Askew, in late June, and inmates started the credentialing program in early July.

The program is offered through the YSU Skills Accelerator via Genius SIS’s SCORM Cloud technology. Upon completion, students earn Tooling U-SME’s Certified Manufacturing Associate, the only certification in the manufacturing industry focused on basic manufacturing concepts that prepares individuals for new careers in manufacturing.

Students can stack credentials that will start them on a pathway to reentry and future career while incarcerated.

“We look forward to being a part of each person’s continued learning journey and can’t wait to connect these individuals, and future participants, to learning pathways and our employer partners,” Ekstrand said.

“We are simply providing the avenue and an opportunity; the students have to put in the work.”

The program, supported by the GM community investment, has plans to expand and offer incarcerated individuals additional in-demand industry credentials.

“This is just the beginning of a very long, fulfilling, and successful partnership between YSU and NEOCC,” Ekstrand said. “It starts with these 50 students. Where it goes is truly limitless.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.