SOLEDAD — Fifteen inmates who participate in the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) received their state-certified apprenticeships and nationally recognized job certifications last Thursday at Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad.
The incarcerated men graduated from the Healthcare Facilities Maintenance Program, which teaches participants how to clean at a hospital-level. The journey-level certification qualifies inmates for meaningful employment once released.
According to CALPIA, there are numerous success stories with graduates working in hospitals, dental offices and owning their own cleaning businesses. Former graduate Richard Barnfield returned to the prison and shared his story of success.
“CALPIA was my first job,” Barnfield said. “I am eternally grateful for it. It helped me grow as a person. I had no idea how to be an employee. This program creates employees, and that is what is helping me thrive on the outside.”
Family, friends and staff cheered on the graduates during the Sept. 15 ceremony.
In addition to Barnfield, other speakers included CALPIA Assistant General Manager of Operations Nicole Collins and Salinas Valley State Prison Warden Trent Allen.
CALPIA programs reduce recidivism and enhance prison and public safety by providing inmates with life-changing training opportunities for successful re-entry into the community. For more about CALPIA, go to calpia.ca.gov.