In late 2011, Spring Creek prisoner club, T.I.M.E. (Together in Many Endeavors), initiated a pilot program to prepare inmates for AKDEC water and wastewater collection, distribution and treatment certification exams required to earn provisional certification in the areas of water treatment and distribution, along with wastewater collection and treatment. Throughout 2012, six T.I.M.E. sponsored prisoners completed training programs via California State University, Sacramento’s Office of Water Programs, earned Certificates of Completion and qualified to sit for certification exams through AKDEC’s Operator Training and Certification Program. Three prisoners took certification exams in October 2012 and one successfully earned his provisional certification.
This prisoner-led initiative is noteworthy as almost all aspects from initial research to prisoner selection, training and exam preparation were done with minimal assistance from DOC staff. While Education Coordinators proctored AKDEC certification exams, everything else was prisoner-initiated and managed. Based on the success of its pilot program, T.I.M.E. plans to sponsor additional prisoners in 2013 to build upon the successes and lessons learned in its initial run. A second group of prisoners is expected to begin training in March 2013, and study groups composed of students past and present will ensure all students are ready for October 2013 certification exams. T.I.M.E. also plans to research whether state certification qualifies for college credit toward undergraduate degree programs, along with employment prospects for prisoners releasing from DOC custody.