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Facing Staff Shortage, State Prisons turn to High Schools for Employees

Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 3:33 pm

By Ethan Colbert

Beginning next spring, high school juniors and seniors in Missouri may be able to enroll in courses that prepare them for employment as corrections officers with the Missouri Department of Corrections.
“This addresses both the staffing shortage and the issues we have with retention of our staff,” Karen Pojmann said. Pojmann is the spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Corrections.
According to a previous Bowling Green Times article, there are more than 11,200 Department of Corrections employees in Missouri. Of those 11,200 employees, 5,000 of them are corrections officers. In July, there were more than 700 open entry-level corrections officer positions in the state.
“The idea of the program is to give young people an idea of what working in corrections entails,” Pojmann said.

In an effort to combat an ongoing staff shortage across the state, officials with the Missouri Department of Corrections are planning to pilot a job shadowing or apprenticeship program this spring. According to a department spokesperson, the potential program would be open to high school juniors and seniors, who would go through a training program at a vocational education center for two years prior to working within one of the state’s 21 prisons, including North East Correctional Center in Bowling Green.

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