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Texas Training Fund Looks to Partner with the State for Construction Training in Prisons

The state of Texas has a long history of being at the forefront of education and training programs. But did you know that Texas started the nation’s first statewide prison education system? The Windham School District (WSD) operates – successfully – within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and offers academic, career, and technical education to incarcerated offenders. Officials of that program are working on a partnership between WSD and a long-running technical training program that is known for producing the best professional carpenters and millwrights in Texas.

Paul Jones, director of the Texas Carpenters and Millwrights Training Trust Fund, said the partnership may center around or include the Career Connections program.

The training arm of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters created Career Connections. The program introduces students to the skills of carpentry and the benefits of becoming a professional carpenter as a career choice. And training is more than hammer and nails. The Career Connections curriculum also focuses on teaching the soft skills such as goal setting, good attitude, punctuality, teamwork and taking initative.    

“We are excited about the possibility of introducing the Texas Carpenters & Millwrights’ curriculum into our apprenticeship program, as it would assist our in-house offenders that work on our facilities as well as creating entry level carpenter or millwright prospects after their release from incarceration, said Rex Rhone, Jr., Workforce Development Specialist for the Windham School District/Texas Department of Criminal Justice. “The curriculum would not only align with our current apprenticeship program, but would result in a nationally recognized certification that will help our Windham workforce employment mission to assist our ex-felon population gain a meaningful career.”

Dennis Donahou, UBC Southern District Vice-President, added: “This partnership to provide incarcerated individual with skill training is a great example of the community involvement that our Texas training professionals are committed to. Giving people a second chance by providing them with the tools to help themselves and get their lives back on track is a worthwhile effort and I applaud both the Texas training and Windham leadership for pursuing this partnership.”


Learn more about the Texas Carpenters and Millwrights Training Trust Fund.

Learn more about the Windham School District.