LARNED — Thursday afternoon, a new vocational training facility was dedicated at the Larned Correctional Facility. Officials from the Kansas Department of Corrections, Barton Community College and local government were in attendance for a ribbon cutting at the building which was constructed in part by offenders in the vocational program.
“Barton Community College is very excited for the opportunity to be partnering with the Kansas Department of Corrections and the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility,” Chris Baker, coordinator of correctional education at BCC, stated prior to the dedication. (Although the facility’s mission has changed from mental health to vocational rehabilitation, its official name is still LCMHF.) “The new Vocational Building will be utilized to offer industry-recognized programs in carpentry, plumbing and welding for the new Youthful Offender population housed at Larned. The carpentry and welding programs are currently utilizing the space with plumbing slated to start in January.”
Following the dedication, attendees enjoyed informal tours of the various shops and classrooms in the building, including areas for welding, plumbing and carpentry. Two partially constructed sheds were also on display. Separate classes are offered in the morning and the afternoon, with each group constructing a shed that will later be sold, according to BCC vocational instructor Matt Mazouch. The proceeds from the sales will be rolled back into scholarships.
Programs offered provide offenders a pathway to attain national craft skills certification, which it is hoped will lead to secure employment upon their release. The new building is expected to provide more opportunities to more inmates.
“The experience of starting these programs up at Larned has been very positive,” Baker said. “The partnership and involvement with KDOC’s Central Office staff and the Larned Administration has been nothing short of amazing. The staff at Larned have done a tremendous job in supporting and helping out with any request or need we have had.”