By Lt. Jennifer Davies, AA/PIO
Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility

The inmates at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD) in San Diego are now participating in a certifiable welding program on RJD’S newest programming facility, Facility E, established in late 2016. Enrolled students are given instruction by their state and nationally certified Welding Instructor, M. Feaster, in both theory and practicum. Students use curriculum and machinery to perfect their skills in welding and work rigorously toward becoming nationally certified in the trade to benefit their re-entry into the community.

The welding program began in February 2018, which included solely curriculum-based instruction, due to an incomplete shop. The inmates utilize Core Curriculum which takes the students through nine modules including Basic Safety, Math, Hand Tools, Power Tools, Construction Drawings, Basic Rigging, Basic Communication, Basic Employable Skills, and Material Handling. After the students complete the Core Curriculum, they move into the next four welding books.

On July 23, 2018, the welding shop became fully functional. Students have been recalling their understanding of the curriculum and applying it to the utilization of the machines. They have practiced cutting, welding and also operating a wide variety of equipment.

The welding shop is filled with many state-of-the-art machines, including a Lincoln Electric machine that includes a 4X4 CNC plasma cutting table. Being only limited by their own imagination, the instructor and students use a computer to complete the programming and cut out 2-D images. In addition, a 100-Ton Iron Worker is available that has the capability to shear steel up to one inch thick, shear up to a six-inch angle iron, and punch holes up to one inch in diameter.

The RJD Welding Program is under the guidelines of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and is an industry certified program that is employment driven. This program prepares students with national certification in the field of specialization (welding) and provides students with marketable skills.

The center provides extensive curricula which cover all of the national construction standards in the State of California. The students are prepared for entrance into the workforce with fundamental theory and skills for each trade. Participants are formally assessed as they progress through the program and with passing exam results, they will receive official certificates from NCCER that are recognized in our communities’ workforce.