11 men currently incarcerated at Sanger B. Powers Correctional Center were celebrated Wednesday morning at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College as they received Industrial Maintenance certificates earned through a 14-week course.
“They learn 14 courses in 14 weeks,” Molly Delsart, an instructor at NWTC explained, “which is very, very aggressive.”
William Haigh, one of Wednesday’s graduates said the journey to receive his certificate was not an easy one.
“When I first started this, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing here,” he said. “It’s been a long, trying thing.”
But the effort was worth it for Haigh, who will start a new job next week thanks to the program.
Haigh’s outcome is not uncommon for graduates of the program, which is in its second year at NWTC.
“I’m going to be a job reference for a lot of them,” Delsart said, “and I know the kind of jobs that they’re getting: good jobs, family-sustaining jobs.”
The graduation ceremony featured multiple speakers, including NWTC President Dr. Jeff Rafn, Wisconsin Department of Corrections Secretary Kevin Carr, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary-Designee Caleb Frostman, and two of the graduates, one of which was Haigh.
“I really didn’t think this day would come,” Haigh said. “And then all of a sudden it’s here and you’re like, ‘Oh. Okay. Now what?'”
For Delsart, who has worked with the program since it began at NWTC, it was an exciting day, both for the future of the graduates and the future of the program.
“I really see it as such a hopeful day for all of us,” she said. “That they now have a chance to turn around everything in their life and they get to move on.”