The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce the first women’s class to graduate from the agency’s Vocational Training Center.
Nine inmates graduated from a small ceremony held this afternoon at the Vocational Training Center on Falkenburg Road. These women graduated with certificates in automotive services maintenance. Over the course of their 48-hour curriculum, they learned how to rotate tires and perform other basic services, including oil changes and brake repair.
“I am thrilled for these nine women as they embark on what will hopefully be the beginning of a new chapter in their lives,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “The goal of the Vocational Training Center is to make sure we provide inmates with an education and equip them with a skill set so they don’t have to find themselves back in here. With this certificate in hand, they can apply for jobs once they leave our jail and become productive members of our community. We now have 47 inmates who have graduated from our welding and automotive services programs.”
The Vocational Training Center is a 10,000-square-foot facility that was built to prepare inmates for life after they finish their sentences, in hopes of reducing the rate of recidivism in the community. Once they have completed a curriculum, inmates will receive a certificate in their chosen field.
The Vocational Training Center originally opened in March 2020, but due to COVID-19, the start of classes was delayed until last October for the safety of inmates and staff. Since then, it has offered classes in basic automotive services and welding. It will soon offer curriculums in forklift operation and carpentry. Classes are taught by instructors from Hillsborough County Public Schools and Hillsborough Technical College.
An interview with Sheriff Chronister and a video from today’s ceremony are provided below.