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Community college system partners with ADOC to train new recruits

The Alabama Community College System is offering a free career prep program for people interested in jobs within the Alabama Department of Corrections.

The joint venture offers Alabamians who apply to become correctional officers the chance to participate in ACTIVATE,  a program designed to help residents meet the physical and educational pre-hiring requirements. 

“There are plenty of applicants who want to serve our state by becoming well-trained correctional officers, but they need extra help to reach that goal. The ACTIVATE program is a huge leap toward ensuring their success and the success of Alabama’s correctional facilities,” ADOC Commissioner John Hamm said in a written statement. 

Enrollees could earn up to nine tuition-free college credit hours at one of ACCS institutions.

The ADOC for several years has struggled to recruit and retain the needed staff at its crowded prisons. It’s under a federal judge’s order to boost staff, but a March court filing said the department is still 2,000 officers short of adequate staff.

Last year, the department started offering significant pay increases. Correctional officer trainees at the state’s maximum security prisons earn now earn $56,971 a year. Starting pay for officer trainees at medium security facilities is $54,290; work release and community work center trainees earn $51,727.

An ADOC hiring website advertises trainee positions paying a range of $26 to $34 per hour at multiple prisons. 

“The Alabama Community College System is both proactive and responsive to meeting the needs of academic training and workforce development in Alabama, and this collaboration with the Department of Corrections is just one of many examples of how we support residents and the state in achieving their goals,” system Chancellor Jimmy Baker said.

The ACCS offers free several public safety training classes statewide to current law enforcement officers. 

“Our footprint of 24 community colleges puts us in the best position to be able to offer training that is convenient to law enforcement officers in both our metro and rural communities across Alabama,” said ACCS Chief Safety and Security Officer Mark Bailey.

More than 1,200 law enforcement officers have earned their required continuing education units for day-long courses including basic crime scene investigation, basic evidence collection and crisis negotiation for first responders.

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