Mitchellville's Groundbreaking Computer Lab Allows Offenders to Apply for Jobs

Mitchellville's Groundbreaking Computer Lab Allows Offenders to Apply for Jobs

Written by the Communications Staff at Iowa Workforce Development 
January, 2018

When Tina Miner accepted the job as Department of Corrections/IWD Re-entry Coordinator in August of last year, her main focus was to empower women by motivating and encouraging them to believe in themselves.

"One of the challenges that I faced in this position was the inability to access the internet," Tina said, describing the environment of the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville. "All of the testing and forms were done on paper. This then needed to be transferred into the IWD system." With hundreds of offenders filling out paperwork, the process was slow and tedious, leaving many unable to obtain employment or enroll with IWD.

Earlier this month, that all changed. After several meetings and a collaboration with the IT department and administrative staff, Tina received approval to have internet accessible computer labs in the correctional facility. Offenders are now permitted limited (supervised) access to sites such as IowaWORKS, Future Ready Iowa, Indeed, Career Builder, as well as the option to take the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) testing online. The development is groundbreaking, as ICIW is the first Department of Corrections facility in the state to provide Internet for its offenders.

With Internet accessibility, offenders are able to start their transition back into the job market from the ground up by learning to build their resumes and working through the process of Internet job search skills. They are also introduced to programs that help foster computer and keyboarding skills, power point presentations and utilizing spread sheets so that offenders don’t just get a “job” but are able to build careers.

Having offender access to internet sites allows them to apply for jobs before leaving ICIW, a huge step forward. This provides offenders the opportunity to be gainfully employed before leaving prison which leads to them to establishing a pro-social, self-sufficient lifestyle. By having a job when leaving ICIW offenders can gain not only self-esteem but also establish roots and help reduce the recidivism rate.

Department of Corrections/IWD Re-entry Coordinator Tina Miner poses in new Mitchellville Corrections Center's computer lab)

 

Printed from the Iowa Department of Corrections website on October 18, 2021 at 4:02pm.