The California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) operates the Marine Technology Training Center (MTTC), an 11-month training program, providing training in diverse curriculum including diving physics, navigation, report writing, air systems, welding, seamanship, blueprint reading, diesel engines, and marine construction.
The training not only focuses on technical skills, but also instills a professional attitude of determination, perseverance, and courage. Together, these skills provide graduates with employment opportunities in commercial diving in areas such as underwater construction, dam repair and maintenance, welding, harbor diving, and offshore oil drilling.
The commercial diving program was initially established in 1970 at the California Institute for Men (CIM) in Chino, under the vision and guidance of the late Leonard Greenstone, former Vice Chair and Prison Industry Board Member, U.S. Navy salvage diver and successful commercial diving contractor.
Although the graduates of this program consistently maintained a recidivism rate of less than 7 percent, the program was closed in 2003 due to budget constraints. However, on December 1, 2006, CALPIA re-established the commercial diving center at CIM as part of the renewed rehabilitation efforts of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
The technical skills learned at the MTTC are designed to ensure that nearly 100 percent of the program’s graduates secure jobs after release. The training modules also focus on helping the graduates in adjusting and developing proper attitude, initiative, and industrial skills.
The MTTC has a renowned history of not only educating and training offenders as commercial divers, but also providing the confidence needed to successfully transition into meaningful employment and avoid re-incarceration.
The MTTC has expanded from producing commercial divers to training offenders in other occupations in the marine industry, as well as preparing offenders to become productive members of society.
Photos by CDCR photographer Eric Owens