MONTPELIER, Vt. — Community College of Vermont (CCV) has been awarded $17,750 from the Vermont Community Foundation to support ReSET VT, a prison-to-career initiative that offers college classes to male inmates at the Northern State Correctional Facility (NSCF) in Newport. The funding includes a $15,000 Regional & Local Impact (RALI) grant from the Community Foundation alongside $2,750 in support from donor advised funds at the Foundation. This is in addition to $25,000 awarded each year for the past two years by the J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation—a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation.
ReSET VT was launched in 2017 to support the Department of Corrections’ effort to reduce Vermont’s recidivism rate. The program offers career preparation, college classes, advising, and mentoring to prepare inmates to transition to college or secure employment upon their release. In fall 2018, CCV offered three college classes to inmates, as well as its Introduction to College and Careers class to Community High School of Vermont students housed at NSCF.
One ReSET student reflected, “Not only do CCV classes help me better myself, they have restored faith in me for my family and kids. They no longer look at me as failure; now I’m just someone who made a mistake.” CCV will offer five courses at NSCF during the spring 2019 semester, and two courses during the summer. The RALI grant supports the continuation of classes through the summer semester, and will also cover textbook costs for inmates.
“I can honestly say that working with the students in the ReSET VT program has been the most intense and rewarding experience I’ve had as an educator,” said Heather Weinstein, CCV’s dean of student affairs and strategic initiatives, who teaches in the ReSET program.