Female inmates graduate from truck driver training class
Four Oklahoma women are blazing new trails in big rigs.
The women are graduates of the first truck driver training class for incarcerated women. The program is a partnership between the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
“This program and others like it align with our mission to help offenders transition successfully from the correctional system to the workplace,” said Oklahoma CareerTech State Director Marcie Mack. “We’re very proud of each of the ladies, who have learned the skills they need for prosperous employment that will make a positive impact on their lives and the state’s economy.”
Two of the women, all of whom came from the Oklahoma City Community Corrections Center, have been released from DOC custody and hired by an Oklahoma City-based over-the-road trucking company.
During an eight-week finishing program with the company, the two women will drive all over the country with a trainer, gaining experience as drivers. Once they complete their training period, the two women will be given their own trucks and hired as full-time drivers.
The other two women are scheduled for release later this summer and plan to interview with the same industry partner.
The women started their training class in March and ended it earlier this month. They completed an intensive four-week program that included both classroom time and driving time. Their classes were conducted at Central Technology Center’s satellite site in El Reno.
The program in which they studied started as a pilot project in summer 2019 with men who were on probation; the program transitioned to incarcerated individuals in 2020. Two classes of men from Union City Community Corrections have completed the program, but this is the first class of women.
“They aren’t just giving us a job, they are giving us a whole new life,” Joanna Fowler said in an ODOC video. “And I’m so grateful for it.”
About Oklahoma CareerTech
The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 59 campuses, 399 PK-12 school districts, 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 adult basic education service providers.
The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.