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GDC Adds 4 New Vocational Programs

Gregory C. Dozier
Director of Public Affairs: 
Joan Heath
Contact Name: 
Jeal Salter
Contact Email:
Friday, December 16

GDC Adds 4 New Vocational Programs

GDC partners with Central Georgia Tech and Wiregrass Tech

FORSYTH, Ga. – In August 2016, the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) added four vocational programs to their roster. The new programs include ServSafe and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Certification at multiple locations, Horticulture at Wilcox State Prison (SP), Commercial Truck Driving at Patten Probation Detention Center (PDC), and Advanced Welding at Walker SP. The Department partnered with Central Georgia Technical College and Wiregrass Technical College to certify offenders upon completion of each of these programs.

“The Department was very strategic in the expansion of our Vocational Programming,” said Commissioner Dozier. “We considered both the success of programming in other facilities and the current demand in the labor department, to ensure that our returning citizens will have the best chance of gaining employment when they are released.”

The ServSafe course, offered at Valdosta Transitional Center (TC), Coastal SP, Patten PDC, Emanuel Women’s Facility (WF), Whitworth WF, Johnson SP, and Lee Arrendale SP, is required by OSHA for food handlers, and is an essential first step for offenders pursuing careers in Food Service. Over 370 inmates have completed this program thus far.

The Horticulture program at Wilcox SP supplies offenders with a Landscape Specialist Technical College Certificate. It is a three-series course, and once completed, offenders have four college credits that can be transferred to any school in the technical college system.  So far, 12 inmates have completed this course, and 21 inmates have met entrance requirements to begin the new class starting in early January.

The Commercial Truck Driving course at Patten PDC provides education and experience in driving commercial trucks, and upon completion, offenders take the CDL (Commercial Drivers License) driving test. Two participants received their CDL license on December 9, and five more will start the course in January.

The Advanced Welding class was brought to Walker SP after resounding success of their Basic Welding Course. The class is 22 weeks long and certifies offenders in Flux Core and Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding. There are currently 13 offenders registered in this course.

The GDC has one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. and is responsible for supervising nearly 52,000 state prisoners. It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state with approximately 10,500 employees.

For more information on the GDC call 478-992-5248 or visit


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