Insight News

Feb 10th

Summit Academy, Hennepin County partnership helps offenders reintegrate

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A new partnership between Summit Academy OIC and Hennepin County STS Homes is helping ex-offenders become educated, learn a certified skill and secure employment so that they can become positive influences in their homes and communities.

The Residential Rehabilitation Technician Program provides individuals living in Hennepin County with the ability to earn a pre-apprentice carpentry certification. Hennepin County and Summit Academy OIC recruit at-risk populations, including probation clients, as part of the partnership.

The 20-week program is offered at Summit Academy OIC in Minneapolis. For the first 10 weeks, students are in the classroom learning about carpentry math, blueprint reading, hand and power tools, personal finance and more.

During the second 10 weeks, students are in the field getting on-the-job training working on residential construction and rehabilitation projects in the county. The first crew of six “rehab tech” students recently finished rehabbing a home in north Minneapolis, was severely damaged by the May tornado.

Summit also recently hired its first co-instructor who is a former offender. He originally participated on the Hennepin County STS Homes crew while incarcerated, and went on to become a graduate of Summit. His story of transformation after serving a 23-year prison sentence is inspirational and encouraging for others looking for a fresh start.

The current rehab tech crew is set to graduate from the program on February 3rd.

On any given day, about 5,000 adult and juvenile offenders are supervised in Hennepin County on the Sentencing to Service Program. The program provides offenders with a safe environment in which to learn job skills and gain self confidence, while completing community improvement and restoration projects. STS provides a structured work option within the criminal justice system that is responsive to the need for offender accountability. Victims are compensated and communities restored for the harm done by offenders.

In 2010, adults and juveniles assigned to STS crews completed more than 309,000 hours of work and community service valued at more than $3 million. STS crews:
•   Maintained properties year-round for 100 seniors and at 200 vacant lots in Minneapolis;
•   Removed nearly 72,000 pounds of litter from communities in Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis; and
•   Performed more than 9,960 hours of roadside clean-up in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.


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