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An employee publication of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
March/April 2011

LBB study:

Windham School District’s vocational training proves effective

By Oliver J. Bell, Chairman

offender at deskAn annual evaluation of the training services provided by Windham School District (WSD) has once again found vocational training for offenders to be an effective method for reducing recidivism.

In 2005, legislation was passed requiring WSD to evaluate offender training. WSD was also required to consult with the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) regarding the evaluation and the analysis of those services, with the LBB reporting the findings to the Legislature. This evaluation covers the types of services provided, whether employment is obtained upon release, whether that employment is related to the offender’s training, the difference in wage earnings from initial employment date to the one-year anniversary and employment retention factors. To thoroughly conduct the evaluation, WSD collaborated with TDCJ and the Texas Workforce Commission to collect and report data.

The January 2011 evaluation reports the following:

Types of services provided: As a part of WSD’s educational and vocational services, the district provides secondary vocational training in a variety of trades through its Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. As of January 2011, WSD provided vocational training in more than 30 trades, to include automotive, electrical and welding. Post-secondary vocational training is also available through WSD by way of contracts with two-year colleges. Twenty-three trades, such as advanced welding, computer networking and data processing, are available through this post-secondary program. During the 2009-2010 school year, 10,835 offenders participated in the CTE program, while 2,939 offenders participated in post-secondary training.

Employment obtained upon release: The evaluation found that offenders who completed CTE training were 1.2 times more likely to be employed within one year of release than non-completers. They were also 1.3 times more likely to be employed within one year than non-vocational offenders. Offenders who completed the post-secondary vocational program were 1.6 times more likely to be employed within one year than non-completers and 1.4 times more likely to be employed within one year than non-vocational offenders.

Employment related to training: Of the offenders who completed CTE training and were employed within one year of release, approximately 78 percent were employed in jobs related to their training. Of the offenders who completed the college vocational training and were employed within one year of release, approximately 77 percent were employed in a job related to their training.

Difference in wage earnings from initial employment to one-year anniversary: The evaluation found that the average annual income of offenders who completed the CTE program was 1.2 times greater than those who did not and 1.1 times more than offenders with no vocational training. The average annual earning of offenders from the post-secondary vocational program was 1.1 times higher than vocational non-completers, and 1.3 times higher than offenders lacking any vocational training.

Further examination of these earnings inequalities reveals that offenders who completed vocational programs (CTE or post-secondary) were more likely to exhibit an increase in earnings over their first year of employment. Of the employed offenders who completed CTE training, approximately 37 percent exhibited an increase over the first year, while employed offenders who completed college vocational training exhibited a 43 percent increase in earnings.

Employment retention: For this evaluation, WSD tracked released offenders through one year of employment, from start to their first anniversary date. Of the offenders who completed CTE training, 50 percent of those who were employed within one year of release were working on their first anniversary date of employment. In the post-secondary group, approximately 54 percent of those who completed the program and employed within one year of release were still working on their first anniversary of employment. Of the offenders who completed CTE training and were employed in an occupation related to their training, approximately 56 percent retained employment for three consecutive quarters, while offenders who completed the post-secondary vocational training exhibited 62 percent retention.

By providing career and technical education and post-secondary vocational training, in addition to other educational services to the TDCJ offender population, WSD continues to fulfill its mission to reduce recidivism by helping offenders become responsible, productive members of their communities.

 

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