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Inmates Get Second Chance With Welding Class

Updated: 12/23/2013 10:54 PM
Created: 12/23/2013 5:20 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

For Vernon Channell, the welding class at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College isn't just about learning.

"It makes us feel like we're cared about," Channell said. "There's so many people that all they need is a hand to get started on the right track."

Channell is one of 14 current and former inmates enrolled in the Welding Boot Camp. This is the fifth one for WITC and instructors said it's going well.

"It's been one of the most successful programs in the state because as many as 50 percent of graduates have been able to find jobs in the area," WITC Associate Dean Charlie Glazman said.

Glazman said the program is meant to give offenders a career path once they are released from jail. He said the program holds offenders to high standards.

"They have to be here on time," Glazman said. "They have to be engaged. We're trying to prepare them for what it's like in the real work world."

"It's hot work...but I like it," Channell said. "It's pretty interesting."

Channell will be released in January and already has a job lined up. He's serving a three-year sentence on charges related to the possession of narcotics.

Channell said the new job will involve welding and equipment operating.

"It feels good to have some security going on," Channell said.

This group will graduate with a welding certificate January 3. The next class for offenders is set for May.

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