Students graduate from carpentry program at Madison College designed to help those behind bars

MADISON, Wis. — Nine Department of Corrections students graduated from Madison College’s Carpentry Techniques Academy Tuesday as part of an effort to help fill jobs in the skilled trades.

The participants’ education began 18 weeks ago when they first learned how to build tool boxes and small benches. Eventually, they learned how to build garden sheds with solar panels attached.

“Our students come into this program at all range of knowledge, so some come in with previous construction experience, some come in with very little, and so we start right from the very beginning,” said Jamie Reinart, Madison College’s education and program training liaison.

The goal is to help give participants a chance to better their lives while also filling workforce needs.

One of those who took part in the program is Raymond Golden, who had previous carpentry experience from nearly two decades ago but never finished it. This effort, he said, helped get him across the finish line.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for anybody willing to learn new things or just sharpen the skills they have,” he said.

The more than $75,000 in funding for the program — a partnership between Madison College, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Workforce Development and the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin — came from a variety of grants, Madison College said in a news release.