While the Access2online program is relatively new to the prison environment, it is already supporting successful transition from incarceration into Oregon communities.
In May, Oregon Correctional Enterprises (OCE) announced the successful startup of a new work program for incarcerated women at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF). Five women completed months of rigorous training and testing to become Trusted Testers certified by the Office of Accessibility Systems and Technology under the Department of Homeland Security.
Through OCE's partnership with Access2online, the company which operates the work and training program inside CCCF, these five women are now qualified to test websites (in an offline environment) for accessibility to the visually impaired. Their expertise joins the national effort to allow the visually impaired to benefit from the internet; a tool that has become an essential part of life in most of the world.
While the Access2online program is relatively new to the prison environment, it is already supporting successful transition from incarceration into Oregon communities. Upon release from prison, the first two participants in the program had jobs waiting for them with the Access2online corporate office. Ninety- five percent of the men and women incarcerated in Oregon's prisons will ultimately release from Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) custody. Plans to grow the Access2online program include training and employing additional women at CCCF as well as adding satellite programs at other Oregon institutions.
Those releasing from incarceration are discovering how essential the internet is for everyday life. Most job applications, information about public services, and even grocery orders can be processed online; but many adults in custody (AICs) have never touched a computer, let alone surfed the web. While American prisons do not allow AICs to have unfettered access to the internet, most states, including Oregon, have developed offline environments or secure, direct portals to specific sites which allow for education, training, and production. Industry-recognized certifications are difficult for those in custody to obtain because most testing is done online, but the recent partnership with ODOC, OCE, Access2online, and the Department of Homeland Security is evidence that difficult does not mean impossible.
Read more AIC success stories and learn about OCE training programs and projects by visiting our STORIES PAGE.