DE&I Employer Toolkit

MDOC: Vocational Village


The Vocational Village is a first-of-its-kind skilled trades training program that aims to provide a positive learning community for prisoners who are serious about completing career and technical education.

The Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia (1728 W Bluewater Hwy, Ionia, MI 48846) has a skills training program for prisoners nearing the end of their incarceration period in order to provide them career readiness skills. Inmates in good standing are able to apply and be selected for the program. Over a 12-month period, the inmates complete formal classroom and hands on “lab style” training in programs such as the following: Electrical, Carpentry, Plumbing, Welding, CNC Programming, Robotics, CDL/Forklift, Masonry and Auto Repair. They also receive training in job readiness skills such as teamwork, communication, interviewing, etc.

As they near the end of their incarceration term, they are available for interviews and placement into a career. Employers can work with an Employment Counselor by contacting the center at (616)-527-3100 ext. 5273-472 to conduct interviews onsite or schedule them for post release interviews. Returning Citizens can receive help with transportation and housing post release through the Ionia Village to help ensure they have a strong start.

Employers who hire Returning Citizens may be eligible for the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

If you would like more information on the West Michigan employers engaged in hiring Returning Citizens or employer information on how to best integrate Returning Citizens, you can check out The National Reentry Resource Center here (opens in new window).


Michigan Dept. of Corrections – Vocational Village Link


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