Certification benefits criminal justice students

BLOOMINGDALE– A new certification through the Ohio Department of Education will help criminal justice students on the career path to work in corrections.

The Jefferson County Joint Vocational School now has an agreement with the ODE that allows students who graduate from the criminal justice program to gain employment opportunities with the ODE Correctional Provisional Certification. Instructor Jamie Freeman said the certification was implemented this year after officials were notified this summer of the opportunity.

“If a student passes the class and the web exam, they get 12 points toward graduation,” Freeman said. “When they go on to apply with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, they will be placed where they checked the box for the career they’ve chosen and it puts them on the list for possible hiring. They still have to undergo interviews and drug testing.”

All of Freeman’s 11 seniors are enrolled and visited the Ohio Reformatory in Marysville to get a closer look at the facilities and learn about the correctional officers’ responsibilities.

“I have quite a few students interested in doing it,” she added. “They can work in any correctional facility throughout the state.”

Once the new employees complete drug testing, they must undergo six weeks of training at Orient before they are sent to the selected facility. Freeman said the certification program has its advantages and there are great benefits with the employment.

“I think it is a huge opportunity for the kids because it’s a career and not just a job. They can retire after 30 years and receive full health benefits, while it also helps pay for college. My students are familiar with the information and what’s expected of them, so it gives them a little bit of a step up.”

Senior Jenna Reed may pursue a criminal justice career after graduation and said the certification is helpful.

“I think it’s awesome. I like learning how to deal with the prison system and how it operates,” Reed commented.

“I really like the opportunities it brings and I can put the corrections experience to use,” added senior Paige Layman.

“It’s going to open a lot of doors for everyone [in the JVS criminal justice program,” noted senior Mackenzie Wedlake.