ATEF residents attend career symposium

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – More than 300 Alabama Therapeutic Education Facility residents attended a career symposium at ATEF’s campus May 21.

The Ingram State Technical College 2019 Career Symposium gave residents an opportunity to collect information from local employers that would hire them for skilled labor jobs after they graduate from ATEF.

“Doing things like this takes it to another level,” Transition Facility Director Dr. Kenneth Garner said of the symposium. “Ingram State tries to train our students for meaningful jobs with good pay.”

As a residential reentry center for inmates referred from the Alabama Department of Corrections, ATEF offers an “intensive treatment program that emphasizes relapse prevention and preparation for transfer into a work release program,” according to press materials.

“This program is less than 18 percent recidivism,” Garner said, noting the six-month program addresses issues such as substance abuse, life skills, family services, anger management, faith-based services administered by ATEF and vocational training instructed by Ingram State in areas including welding, carpentry, HVAC and plumbing. “We’re building accountability, responsibility and knowing how to go to work.”

In addition, companies that employ community custody individuals and returning offenders to the community for a certain number of hours per year can receive a federal tax credit, Garner said.

Ingram State and ATEF have graduated more than 10,000 ADOC residents from the reentry program since opening in March 2008.

“This is our 11th year, and we’re still going strong,” Garner said. “It’s truly a success.”