North Dakota State Penitentiary Implements Inmate Web Development Training Program

BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) – Many incarcerated people struggle to find jobs after serving their sentences.

The fields of predilection are often construction or welding.

North Dakota State Penitentiary is trying to give inmates another career choice, implementing a new program designed to train inmates in web development.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that employment for web developers and digital designers is expected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all other occupations.

Johnny Patrom is one of the first participants in The Last Mile program.

“I have already been able to design a few web pages. I’ve learned CSS and HTML fairly well and we’re just getting started with Java Script now, ”Patrom said.

To qualify, inmates must, within one year of their release date, have a high school diploma or GED and pass the interview process.

“So they’ll get a certificate of completion through The Last Mile, and then one of the pieces with The Last Mile is that they’re working to really help them prepare for their workforce once they’re released, and so that’s a lot of post-completion coaching career, ”Stephanie Kuehn, director of education at North Dakota State Penitentiary.

The program is made possible by a $ 250,000 contract funded by a federal grant from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act administered by Job Service North Dakota.

“I’ve never really seen myself doing something like this because I’ve always seen myself working in a field like physical labor, like welding or construction, but it was just an opportunity to challenge myself, and I am really happy that I chose to do so. that, ”Patrom said.

Patrom says he should be released in a few months, and he says he wants to continue studying computer science.

Currently, seven students are participating in the one-year Last Mile program, and the state enclosure hopes to continue the program for years to come.

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James S. Joseph