PrintED Gives Hope to Incarcerated
RESTON, VA—December 4, 2008—The Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF®) is pleased to announce that, for the first time ever, a prison inmate has been awarded a PrintED® certification. John Phillips, 41, an inmate at the Northern Regional Jail and Correctional Facility in Moundsville, WV received a certification in Offset Press Operations after passing an online standardized PrintED examination.
As with most prisons, inmates at the Northern Regional Jail and Correctional Facility are not allowed access to the Internet. When Instructor Eric Dye took charge of the graphic communications program in July 2007, he was determined to change that obstacle so that inmates could participate in PrintED certification examinations.
Though initially hesitant to allow online testing, the prison warden finally gave permission for inmate Phillips to register to take the examination, but only under the strict supervision of Jeannette Donohew, lead teacher and Office of Institutional Education Programs (OIEP) Correctional Educational Association accreditation process manager.
Thus it was Donohew who registered Phillips for the testing, and Donohew who, on the day of the test, accessed the online test site as Phillips' proctor, input Phillips' pass code and clicked through the initial test pages to the first question. Phillips had limited access to the computer: He sat in front of it only when answering a question—Donohew even clicked the “submit” button after Phillips finished the exam. It was, nevertheless, the first time ever that a prison inmate had taken an online PrintED certification examination.
Phillips is now preparing to take the Introduction to Graphic Communications and the Digital File Preparation examinations. “He's proud that, even at 41, he is continuing his education and his training,” comments Donohew.
Phillips has found employment in the correctional industries print shop, operating a Sakurai two-color press. Donohew says his training and PrintED certification helped him land a position in the prison's competitive job environment. “We try to approximate the normal work place as much as we can,” she explained.
“Inmates have to apply and interview for these jobs. John was hired because of his skills and qualifications coming out of our PrintED program. The momentum is beginning to build, and we will have more and more students working toward this achievement,” Dye observed. “They're really motivated.”