Statewide prison industry agency to expand soft-skills training for California inmates

California

FOLSOM, Calif. (KTXL) — The California Prison Industry Authority announced Monday they plan to expand soft skills training for inmates.

In its role within the prison industry, CALPIA provides work assignments for about 7,000 inmates inside the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation system, according to the agency’s website.

In September 2020, the board which oversees CALPIA approved the agency’s Essential Skills for Workforce pilot program which teaches the soft skills necessary to be successful in the workplace, according to the release.

“While CALPIA provides technical skills that may get a graduate’s foot in the door, people skills are what keep doors open and help secure future job opportunities,” said Bill Davidson, CALPIA’s acting general manager and executive officer of the Prison Industry Board.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, soft skills include those relating to professionalism or work ethic; oral and written communication skills; teamwork and collaboration skills; and critical thinking or problem-solving skills.

CALPIA officials say those who participated in the pilot program were introduced to “interpersonal and social skills, self-awareness, managing emotions, managing stress, empathy in the workplace, and professionalism in the workplace.”

The pilot program included about 10 to 15 inmates at several CDCR institutions, including the California Correctional Institution, California Institution for Women, California State Prison Corcoran, Central California Women’s Facility, Folsom State Prison and Folsom Women’s Facility, Mule Creek State Prison, California State Prison Solano and Valley State Prison.

Nearly 90 inmates who participated in CALPIA work programs have already successfully completed the pilot program, according to the release.

“As we equip incarcerated individuals with technical work skills to reenter the workforce, we also must acknowledge that soft skills are an essential part to their success in not only getting a job, but keeping a job,” said former CDCR Chief Deputy Warden Robin L. Harrington in the release.

Each person in the pilot program was monitored through a case management process, according to officials.

CALPIA says they expect to offer the Essential Skills for Workplace program to all participants in the agency’s job training programs starting next fiscal year.

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