39 graduate from Centralia Correctional Center program with Kaskaskia College

February 6, 2023

For several years, Kaskaskia College has partnered with the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and the Centralia Correctional Center to offer face-to-face instruction at the medium-security facility. 

This past Friday, February 3, the college was able to award 54 vocational certificates to 39 graduates after a hiatus in graduation ceremonies due to the pandemic and COVID-19 restrictions. 

“Kaskaskia College is very proud of the graduates, faculty, and staff that have contributed to their hard-earned achievement,” said Rachel Varel, Director of Education at the Centralia Correctional Center. “Without the support of the IDOC, we would not be able to provide an outstanding educational environment to our students.”

Several members of KC administration and faculty attended the ceremony, as well as representatives from IDOC, CCC Warden Daniel Monti, CCC Assistant Warden Mark Vinyard, Assistant Director of IDOC Alyssa Williams, IDOC Chief of Programs and Support Services Jennifer Parrack, Office of Adult Education and Vocational Services Manager Maria Miller, OAEVS Vocational Coordinator DuWayne Owens, CCC Educational Faculty Administrator Michael Dunbar. 

Kaskaskia College Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Hawley congratulated the students and complimented them on their dedication to improving themselves with education. “Kaskaskia College and the Board of Trustees believe in you and the programs we offer to help improve your lives,” said Hawley. “And we’re going to do our best to be here for everyone, every time.”

The 39 students received certificates in culinary, warehousing and distribution, and construction operations. The audience also heard from three graduates, Joshua Desherlia (Culinary), Orlando Perez (Warehousing and Distribution), and Don Evans (Construction Operations), who each spoke on how these certificate programs gave them an opportunity to “reinvent” themselves and gain dedication to a profession by completing that educational pathway via KC.  

All graduates completed the same requirements as those that attend in person at KC for the same certificates. In the near future, the college plans to start a heating, venting, and air conditioning (HVAC) program at the prison.

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