Wise Works, a Wise County alternative sentencing program, and RACE 1, the Regional Adult and Career Education Program, have announced a partnership that will give program participants the opportunity to pursue education and work readiness classes as part of their community service requirements.
As Wise County Commonwealth Attorney Chuck Slemp stated, “Wise Works allows low level, low risk offenders to pay for the crimes they have committed in the form of community service rather than incarceration.” Instead of spending time in jail, participants are required to do community work, which has included cleaning up roadways, local rivers and lakes, taking care of the animals at the Wise County Animal Shelter, and many other projects.
Now, thanks to a partnership with RACE 1, program participants can count classroom hours, including basic skills, GED and work readiness classes, towards their community service requirement. RACE 1, a program of Lee, Scott , Wise, and Norton Public Schools, offers free adult education classes and free high school equivalency testing at eleven locations in the region.
Rebecca Scott, Program Manager of RACE 1, noted that Wise Works participants will earn community service credit for class attendance, testing incentives, and GED completion. “These adults will benefit from workforce readiness classes, including instruction in digital skills, financial literacy, soft skills, and work ethics. At our class sites they can earn national certificates, improve their basic skills, and ultimately, earn their GED.” Additionally, to direct their entry into the workforce, each participant will create a career plan that may include future college or training options.
Wise Works Program Director Brian Caldwell praised the partnership, saying “I am thrilled to be partnering with RACE 1 to provide continued education and training opportunities to our participants. Our new partnership will help them obtain a GED, continue education, and receive certification to continue to be productive, law-abiding citizens of Wise County.”
Since its inception in August 2017, Wise Works has worked with over 80 participants. Slemp explained that the addition of the RACE 1 partnership will “go a long way in helping our program participants become productive members of society”.