Iowa Central Community College, the Domestic/Sexual Abuse Outreach Center and the North Central Correctional Facility recently collaborated on a project that will allow D/SAOC to expand its capacity from 20 beds to 40 beds.
Tim Heller, Iowa Central Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant project manager, explained that originally, a meeting with D/SAOC representatives had been scheduled to inform them of a grant at the college which would allow their clients an opportunity to earn a certificate in welding or industrial maintenance, which could lead to better paying jobs in the manufacturing industry.
During the meeting, Brenda McBride, D/SAOC program development director, mentioned they had metal beds donated from Iowa State University, but that they had no rails or ladders to the upper bunks. She said some of the women have small children who come with them and need to stay at the facility, so having bunk beds without rails or ladders made them unsafe to use. It was suggested having students from a welding certificate program at the NCCF fabricate rails and ladders for the beds.
Donating the labor to complete the beds would make it possible for D/SAOC to serve an additional 20 clients.
Matt McCormack, Iowa Central welding instructor, said the process took some time because the course schedule had to be adapted to include the project.
Heller said one of the inmates had said he was "glad that he was able to help."
"Although there are those that will judge inmates for doing some time in prison, the truth is some are serious about making a real change when they get out. I think this project helps demonstrate that to some extent," Heller said.
"I think there are several winners with this project. D/SAOC will expand its services, inmates in the welding class were able to use skills taught and help give back to the community, and Iowa Central continues to offer educational opportunities and provide services in a variety of ways to the community and surrounding areas."