The man Chris Hansen refers to as “Mr. F” had no interest in college when he got out of prison. He just wanted a job.
But after three months of hearing “no thanks”
from employers, he showed up at Hansen’s door
with a Department of Corrections officer.
“He was in utter dismay,” recalls Hansen, a
reentry navigator for Bates Technical College
in Tacoma, Washington. “I talked with him
about short-term training options: eight weeks,
six certifications, and some help with job place-
ment. He reluctantly agreed to give it a try.”
Six weeks into the college’s Manufacturing
Academy program, Mr. F was hired by a local
manufacturing plant. Three months later, he
was enrolled in a pre-apprenticeship program
for electrical construction. “College is still not
what he wants,” Hansen notes, “but we were
able to provide him with a service that was
helpful in moving him into a career.”
Hansen is one of nine reentry navigators
for the state of Washington, tasked with help-
ing inmates get the job training and employ-
ment they need to be productive citizens upon
their release. The navigator positions were
established by the Washington State Board
for Community and Technical Colleges with
a grant from the Department of Corrections.
In creating these positions, the state board
recognized the critical role that community
colleges play in preparing nontraditional students for successful careers.
Preparing nontraditional students for the workforce requires
creative thinking and attentiveness to their needs
BY DENNIS PIERCE