Curriculum Utilized in Pennsylvania Correctional Institution Vocational Programs
While you probably know that MHI’s Career & Technical Education (CTE) program, which includes the four Fundamentals of Warehousing and Distribution textbooks, has been adopted nationwide by multiple high schools, community colleges and technical schools, you might be surprised to discover that our second adopter of the program was the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
“The program originated with the development and writing of the first Fundamentals textbook by MHI staffers Dick Ward and Allan Howie at the request of the United States Marine Corps Institute in the 1990s,” recalls John Nofsinger. He served as MHI’s CEO during those years and is currently an executive advisor to the organization.
“The Marine Corps Institute had contracted with MHI to prepare materials that were designed specifically for people entering the logistics field while in the military,” Nofsinger says. “The idea was to develop content that was not geared toward university-level learning, but rather took more of a vocational, skills-based approach.”
The program included a testing component, graded by MHI, which then issued a certificate to military logisticians transitioning out of service. “The idea behind the certificate was to help them demonstrate proficiency in the field as they returned to civilian life,” Nofsinger continues.
It was that very program that Rich Jacobs, instructor at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Graterford, stumbled upon in 2008, when he was tasked with finding a warehouse training program that could be used for instruction of inmates approaching parole.
“The previous year, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections had received additional funding to start some new vocational programs, including one named ‘Warehouse Operations and Material Handling.’ I was a corrections officer at the time, but had worked for many years as a forklift operator and warehouse associate prior to that, so when they created this position at our facility, it was a good fit,” he recalls.
By Angela Jenkins, MHI Director of Career & Technical Education