Mississippi inmates become certified to train other inmates

Published 9:19 pm Saturday, January 20, 2024

Seven inmates now hold certifications to teach other inmates skills that can help them obtain logistics jobs in various industries after their release from prison.

The women received their instructor certificates during graduation Friday at the Mississippi Correctional Institute for Women (MCIW) in Pearl and will begin passing on their knowledge to other women in logistics courses. The courses prepare the inmates for jobs in supply chain facilities, including factories, warehouses, distribution centers, and transporters.

The prison has held classes in the field for a while; however, Friday’s group was the first to graduate instructors who took additional classes to be able to lead other inmates through the coursework, said Jeff Solari, training coordinator and logistics instructor for MDOC Works. Some of the graduates will stay at MCIW, while others will be placed at Delta Correctional Facility in Greenwood and the satellite facility in Flowood, which are the other locations for female inmates.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“This was an absolutely fantastic class with over 100 hours of classroom training, and they volunteered to participate,” Solari said. “These instructor graduates wanted to get involved and be a part of positive change.”

The classes are sanctioned by a national credentialing system, the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, and individuals are assessed for two credentials, including certified logistics associate (CLA) and certified logistics technician (CLT), which is required before obtaining the CLT. The training and assessment address the needs for employability and academic and technical skills.

Inmate graduate Vanessa Sistrunk said she looks forward to applying her skills for a rewarding career. “With my CLA/CLT certification, this will be my career, not just a job. The money will be good, but the work will be even more rewarding. It is all about giving back so you don’t come back,” Sistrunk said.

Inmate graduate Rosa Wallace thanked MDOC Works for the opportunity to participate in the program to improve her job skills.

“You have presented us with the opportunity to change, giving us the choice of taking it or not. Those of us who want better have no excuses because of the opportunities you make available,” Wallace said. “Because we have succeeded, we are now in the position to pass along this opportunity to others. What you have taught us will change the trajectory of the lives of each person we teach.”