State Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher says his agency has held its inaugural graduation ceremony for inmate workers completing the Dairy Worker Training Certificate program.
The DOC’s correctional enterprise bureau runs four dairy farms in eastern Wisconsin and has 60 inmate workers managing a herd of more than 500 milk cows, 50 dry cows and 600 heifers. The new program just gave certification to eight inmates as part of the continuing education component.
As part of the program, products like milk, ice cream and sherbet are produced at the farms and then sold to correctional facilities throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota. The University of Wisconsin-Madison also purchases products to make ice cream from the farm.
“Vocational training programs are critically important to prepare inmates for life in the community while also providing opportunities for them to learn how to work as part of a team, develop a good work ethic, and communicate with colleagues,” Litscher said. “These skills are invaluable for employers seeking trained workers in the community and we look forward to furthering our partnership with Wisconsin’s technical colleges.”
Moraine Park Technical College and DOC worked to develop the training program for inmate workers at DOC’s Waupun State Farm. The training is a two-credit transferable credential which includes instruction in milking, feeding, cow reproduction and calf care, as well as farm maintenance and other critical skills.
Last year, the DOC produced more than 2.6 million gallons of skim milk on its farm, as well as a million cups of ice cream and 400,000 cups of sherbet.
The Bureau of Correctional Enterprises also operates a transition program for inmate workers to find employment in related fields upon their release.
Source: Wisconsin Ag