Terry Thornton, Deputy Press Secretary

CDCR Undersecretary of Operations Terri McDonald gave the key-note address at a January 27 ceremony honoring eight Career Technical Education (CTE) graduates at the California Institution for Women (CIW).

The graduates had completed the steps to receive California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) certification in construction.  Another 15 workers received International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Internal Quality Auditor certificates in CALPIA’s Fabric Enterprise at CIW. 

“These graduates are learning valuable skills that will give them a foundation for success as they transition back to the communities from which they came,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate.

With a recidivism rate of less than 10 percent, CALPIA’s CTE programs are among CDCR’s most successful vocational training programs. 

To increase the chance of employment, all CALPIA participants are required to obtain a high school diploma, or complete a GED, within two years of beginning the program.

“By choosing to participate in CALPIA’s carpentry training, the CTE graduates have built new programming space, learned construction skills, and significantly reduced their chances of returning to prison,” said Chuck Pattillo, General Manager of CALPIA.  “We are also proud of the 15 employees of our Fabric Enterprise who have achieved ISO Internal Auditor certification.  CALPIA workers are the first correctional industry participants in the nation to achieve this distinction.

“Rather than costing taxpayers an average of $47,000 per year for housing,” Pattillo said, “the vast majority of CALPIA graduates will become law-abiding and taxpaying citizens.”

The CTE program offers training in various construction skills, including welding and ironwork, general labor, and finished carpentry. CALPIA provides paroled graduates with a set of tools and a tool belt so they are ready for the first day of their new jobs.

CALPIA is a self-financed and self-sufficient state entity that receives all of its revenue from the sale of products that it manufactures. The recidivism rate among CALPIA inmates is more than 25 percent lower than the general prison population, a success attributed to the job skills inmates receive by working in CALPIA business enterprises.