Barton Welding Instructor Josh Snodgrass has been recognized by the Kansas Department of Corrections as the 2019 Contract Employee of the Year for his exemplary performance teaching incarcerated individuals at the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility. Local awards are designated per facility, and awardees are in the running for a state-level award to be determined by the Kansas Department of Corrections.
Snodgrass said he takes personal pride in his work because it has an impact on not only his students but on the communities to which they return.
“It feels great to be acknowledged for all the work I’ve put into the Larned Welding Program,” he said. “Educating these men is important to me for a few reasons. It reduces recidivism, which helps the student lead a productive life and keeps the community safe. Another reason would be that most of these guys have come from challenging circumstances and backgrounds. To be able to give them a second chance and a better shot at a quality life when they return to the community is truly a rewarding experience.”
Snodgrass said he also emphasizes other skills in his classes besides the technical aspects.
“My students need to learn what it takes to be a successful employee for a welding business after incarceration,” he said. “Having the skill is obviously important in obtaining a job, but learning other essential skills will make them more successful in maintaining employment.”
Barton Coordinator of Correctional Education Services Chris Baker said Josh is very deserving of the award and his previous work as a correctional officer makes him even more able to relate to his students.
“Josh is a willing, and hard worker that aims to complete each task to the best of his ability and has a tremendous amount of welding knowledge that he is eager to share with his students,” he said. “He has demonstrated the ability to hold his students accountable on what it means to be a good student and future employee, as well as maintaining a safe work area. If you were to enter Josh’s Welding shop you would be amazed at the cleanliness and organization that you would observe. Every day the students have a clear understanding of the assignment and expectation on how to complete the necessary work.”