STEP-UP Awarded $500,000 by Shasta County CCP

The Shasta County Community Corrections Partnership Executive Committee (CCPEC) approved $250,000 a year over the next two years to increase the capacity of the Shasta Technical Education Program-Unified Partnership (STEP-UP) by 50 students, who are currently under the supervision of probation or are within the custodial control of the Sheriff’s Office. STEP-UP provides support for students to earn Career Technical Education Certificates (CTEs) or Associates Degrees areas in Business and Office Administration, Heavy Equipment Operations, Fire Technology, Welding, and Automotive Technology at Shasta College.  

STEP-UP is a partnership between Shasta College, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department, Probation Department, the Good News Rescue Mission, and the California Heritage Youth Build Academy. STEP-UP was founded by Sheriff Tom Bosenko and Shasta College’s Associate Vice-President of Economic and Workforce Development, Eva Jimenez, in 2013 to provide low risk offenders with academic and logistical support to assist them in successfully earning certificates or an Associate’s Degree with the aim of gaining employment and becoming productive law-abiding members of our community.  On March 23, 2016, the Opportunity Institute, a non-profit organization that promotes social mobility and equity by improving outcomes through education, announced seven educational institutions who would receive three-year grants to provide high-quality, in-person courses to students inside or recently released from prisons and jails in order to transform their lives. Shasta College’s STEP-UP Program was one of the seven selected institutions that received funding to support 50 students the opportunity to earn a certificate or degree.   

Based on the success of STEP-UP during its first four years, on June 27, 2017 the Shasta County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the CCPEC recommendation made by STEP-UP to double the size of the existing program. The mission of STEP-UP is aligned closely with the objectives of the CCP as part of the Shasta County Public Safety Realignment Implementation Plan approved in 2011. The Shasta County CCPEC realignment plan was adopted in response to AB 109 (CA Public Safety Realignment Act) passed in 2011. One of the three components of the plan is to provide programs and services aimed at addressing the criminogenic needs of low-risk offenders in our community. STEP-UP fulfills that mission by providing a path to learn skills that will enable them to gain full-time employment upon graduation thus returning these individuals to the community with productive crime-free lifestyles. 

Over a year ago Daniel Conklin, 33, was an inmate serving time in Minnesota for burglary and was extradited to California for a previous crime. Conklin, who acknowledges he's been in trouble most of his life, committed crimes to feed a heroin addiction. Last fall, Conklin joined STEP-UP’s welding program. Now he's a year and a half clean and is getting his priorities in order. "I knew I wanted to be done with that life, but I didn't know how to do it or where to begin. Going to prison was my turning point," he said. He calls his job at Goodwill "awesome" and says he wants to achieve more in his life. This is Conklin’s second time stepping into college he said, “Ten years ago drugs got the better of me and I ended up dropping out of a construction program in Oregon. It's all part of taking one little step at a time. I'm trying not to get too overwhelmed because that is when people slip into old habits and routines". Conklin will graduate Shasta College with his Associates Degree in welding and make a career out of it.

After completing an intensive drug and alcohol program last year Valentina Ford, 20, moved to Redding. When Valentina learned about STEP-UP she stated, “Life looked a little brighter and I could see things getting better. I plan to complete my associate’s degree in business administration. Before, I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life or how I would gain better employment. Because of STEP-UP I know what I want and I have a plan for my future.” Valentina state she plans to transfer to California State University, Chico when she is done.

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Created at 6/29/2017 4:14 PM by Griggs, Peter
Last modified at 11/13/2017 8:19 AM by Near, Andrew