Pierce County jail inmates can earn high school credits

TACOMA, Wash. — Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and Bates Technical College recently launched a pilot program to bring high school-level courses to inmates at the county’s jail.

The 10-week program includes two courses, offered four days each week, open to inmates incarcerated for at least 10 weeks. Financial Beginnings and Therapeutic Writing courses qualify for credit under Bates’ High School 21+ program, aimed at adults who have not yet earned a high school credential.

“The classes offer relevant and timely education that help promote a successful transition out of jail,” said Josh Baker, dean of instruction at Bates. “This program gives inmates a second chance with future career opportunities, and is an excellent example of how we serve our community,” he said.

The pilot program launched in February, and officials hope to expand course offerings. College faculty and a Sheriff’s Department program coordinator teach the program and offer support to inmates, should they wish to transition to the High School 21+ program at Bates post-jail.

Pierce County Sheriff’s Department Corrections Bureau Program Coordinator Mo Weber said, “This is a life-changing opportunity for the students enrolled in this program. The idea that they can improve their lives while in jail, and have a contact at the college, means they are better-equipped to pursue educational opportunities when they leave jail,” she said.

For more information about this program, contact Andrea Cobb, pre-college transition specialist, 253.680.7185, acobb@bates.ctc.edu.

About Bates Technical College

Founded in 1940, Bates Technical College offers certificate and degree opportunities in nearly 50 career education programs, and serves approximately 3,000 career training students and 10,000 more community members annually in extended learning, distance learning, high school, and other programs. For more information, go to www.bates.ctc.edu, or call 253.680.7000.

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