New State Partnership Will Improve Park Offerings While Providing Valuable Skills For Inmates

COLUMBUS, OH – Today Directors from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) and the Ohio Department of Commerce (ODC) announced a new partnership that will provide an invaluable training opportunity for the men currently in Ohio’s prison system while helping to meet a growing demand for cabins in Ohio State Parks.

The agreement created today allows the men currently serving in Ohio’s prisons the chance to learn trade skills while building cabins that will be installed at Ohio State Park locations across the state. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) creates a two-year partnership, and it is the hope that the initiative will become a permanent, sustainable program.

“ODRC could not be more excited about this collaboration and the opportunity to produce cabins for Ohio’s beautiful state parks,” ODRC Director Gary Mohr said. “It is our mission to ensure we are releasing individuals back into Ohio communities better than when they came to us, and this partnership will allow us to do just that. The skills that will be taught through this process can easily translate to employment after incarceration.”

The work program offers inmates a chance to learn valuable skills, including carpentry and roof work, which will make their eventual transition back into society easier.

“This innovative partnership creates an ideal situation for each of our agencies,” ODNR Director James Zehringer said. “ODNR continues to search for ways to provide quality amenities to guests enjoying our state parks. The camper cabins are one of our more popular facilities so of course we are excited for the opportunity to provide more of these assets.”

The ODC has assisted ODNR and ODRC by helping guide the process to ensure the cabins comply with the permitting and construction requirements in the Ohio building code.

“We are excited to assist our partner agencies in crafting a program that will provide Ohioans with new opportunities to learn the building trades,” ODC Director Jacqueline T. Williams said. “We are proud to be a part of this initiative by helping to ensure a structurally sound and safe product for those who visit Ohio State Parks.”
Park guests can expect to see finished products by the summer of 2017.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov

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