FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Eileen D. Cassidy
Officials Praise PrintED® Accredited Prison Program
RESTON, VA, October 13, 2006... Inmates in Maryland's correctional system are learning valuable skills in printing and graphic communications through the national PrintED® accreditation and certification program. Offered through the state's Occupational Skills Training Center (OSTC), this is Maryland's second printing program to receive Pri® accreditation and is emerging as a model for similar programs in other correctional settings.
Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele tours the
Occupational Skills Training Center in Baltimore Prison.
Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele visited the facility earlier this summer, along with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor Karen Czarnecki. Both visitors were impressed by the range and quality of training at the center, along with the degree to which the printing industry works with OSTC staff to find jobs for qualified graduates.
“As we work to help our economy continue to grow, we recognize the importance of strengthening all segments of our work force and the remarkable role that the Occupational Skills Training Center plays in helping inmates learn skills to find and keep good-paying jobs,” said Lt. Governor Steele.
OSTC students develop hands-on skills in specific printing and graphics tasks, like digital file preparation and output, press operations, binding and finishing, as well as receiving training in life skills in preparation for the transition back to the community.
“PrintED really means something when our students go out on job interviews,” said OSTC graphic communications instructor Charlie Benjamin. “These are ex-offenders who have a strike against them and therefore need to have verifiable credentials,” he explains. Thanks to PrintED, he adds, “employers know they're hiring skilled workers.”
Ken Weeden, OSTC principal, praised the center's graphic communications program. “The business of printing is a time-honored profession that offers an array of employment opportunities that extends to those incarcerated adults who are offered the appropriate training and education. The industry deserves a pat on the back for giving our students a reason to look forward, rather than back.”
PrintED, administered by the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation, is a national accreditation and certification program, based on industry standards, for graphic communications courses of study at the secondary and post-secondary levels. PrintED provides a career pathway for students to enter the workplace with verifiable credentials, or to pursue further education with college credit already in hand.
The Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation was created by the National Association for Printing Leadership, NPES The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing, and Converting Technologies and the Printing Industries of America in 1983. These three national associations jointly own the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC®). GAERF was created to channel a portion of the revenues earned by GASC-managed shows into projects supporting a strong future for the industry. For additional information about the Foundation and its programs, visit the GAERF web site at www.gaerf.org or call toll-free at (866) 381-9839.
About Occupational Skills Training Center (OSTC)
OSTC is a cooperative venture among the Maryland State Department of Education, the Department of Corrections, and employers in the Baltimore region. The center opened in 1993 and provides incarcerated men and women training in seven different occupational programs that focus on preparing them for full-time employment in their chosen field of study. The program has a single major objective of helping students master those factors that contribute the most to successfully transition back into the community.