Cimarron Correctional Facility (CCF) is a men’s medium security prison in Cushing, Oklahoma owned and operated by CoreCivic headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. A few years ago, CCF wanted to improve their vocational program by adding industry-recognized certification to help inmates validate in-demand technology skills.
Computer Instructor Steve Holley began to research introductory-level technology certifications and became familiar with Certiport, a leader in performance-based certification exams since 1997. Certiport’s Console 8 delivery platform included off-line testing and CCF became one of the first Certiport Authorized Tes\ting Centers in CoreCivic’s nationwide system of correctional centers. They started by offering Certiport’s IC3 Digital Literacy Certification and Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification.
Approximately 30 inmates are involved in the certification program, with 16 of them earning MOS certification thus far and two becoming Microsoft Office Specialist Masters, a designation for individuals who earn four MOS certifications including the MOS Word Expert and MOS Excel Expert exams.
Danny Clements is one inmate who not only earned MOS certification, but became a MOS Master. “After reasoning that everything in today’s society revolves around computers in some form I made the decision to enroll in the computer course at CCF,” says Clements. He completed the course work and then stayed on as a tutor to keep his knowledge fresh, ultimately giving him enough training to take all of the certifications necessary to become an MOS Master.
Another inmate, Wayne Thompson, has been incarcerated since he was 15 years old. “I decided to pursue MOS certification and become a MOS Master to prepare myself for entry into the job market,” says Thompson. “I have an Associates degree and all of my work experience has shown the need for IT skills. I believe the more capable you are in this field, the more employable you will be.”