Program offers inmates chance to earn job skill certification

GIBSON COUNTY, Tenn. — Local business leaders learn more about a program that could bring them new employees.

For the past month, inmates at the Gibson County Correctional Complex have been learning manufacturing skills through the Re-entry Advanced Manufacturing Program, or RAMP.

Businesses in Gibson County got a first-hand look Tuesday at how the program works.

“It’s the same class that you or I could go sign up for at a TCAT facility, just like auto body, machine shop, and they’re going to leave here with a post-secondary certificate,” Gibson County Sheriff Paul Thomas said. “That’s going to teach them how to work in a manufacturing world, it’s going to teach them about safety and about manufacturing processes.”

There are three tests the inmates have to pass in order to receive their certificate.

Thorne Barbour works for Jones Family of Companies in Humboldt and says they are always looking to add to that family.

“We’re really looking for that opportunity for those who want a career, that want an opportunity to become part of a family, and look at long term,” Barbour said.

And while these businesses are looking to grow their workforce, Sheriff Thomas has another goal for the county.

“The ultimate goal here is to reduce recidivism in Gibson County,” Sheriff Thomas said. “We’ve got to get these people out and get them back to work. We’ve got to stop them from coming back to jail and get back alive in society.”

Robert Beeler is one of the RAMP instructors. He says he wants to show the businesses that these aren’t bad people but just made a bad decision.

“We want to get them back on track, and we want to show some of these industries around here that these guys can be productive,” Beeler said.

Beeler says the first group of inmates should be certified by the end of August.

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