PRIDE Enterprises launches new diesel mechanic training program
Diesel program students with Instructor RJ Himes going over troubleshooting of a John Deere Tractor.

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'The significance of this program extends beyond the classroom.'

Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises (PRIDE Enterprises), an inmate training company operating 37 work training programs across 17 state correctional facilities in Florida, recently launched its new diesel mechanic training and certificate program in Belle Glade, with the first 10 inmates from Moore Haven Correctional Facility voluntarily starting the program on Monday, Nov. 6.

The new program is a joint venture between PRIDE Enterprises, the Florida Department of Corrections and Palm Beach State College. The new program is a 425-hour college credit course with full state college certification through Palm Beach State College.

“We’re excited to have launched this new diesel mechanic training and certificate program,” said Blake Brown, president of PRIDE Enterprises. “The certificates earned through this program are more than pieces of paper; they are tickets to a future filled with possibility.”

With the goal of preparing inmates for re-entry into communities as productive citizens, PRIDE Enterprises cited a pressing need for diesel mechanics in the state as a reason to why they partnered with Palm Beach State College to offer the new diesel mechanic training and certificate program. In fact, PRIDE Enterprises stated that currently there is only one state college in Florida that offers this program and there are over 1,000 diesel mechanic job openings in the state.

“This is a demand that this program aims to meet,” Brown said. “Upon completion of their sentences, inmates who have graduated from the program will be stepping into a job market hungry for their expertise, with the potential for not just employment, but for careers that promise financial stability and personal fulfillment.”

Before launching the program, PRIDE Enterprises invested in and built a state-of-the-art classroom and service center for inmates going through the program to be able to apply their knowledge to actual diesel equipment.

“The program has an immersive blend of theory and practice, combining classroom instruction with hands-on experience in a fully equipped shop,” said Remero Green, vice president of inmate programs and training for PRIDE Enterprises.

“Lead by a seasoned instructor, inmates will be able to delve into the intricacies of diesel engines. They will learn to diagnose, repair, and maintain a wide array of vehicles, from heavy-duty trucks to agricultural machinery.”

In addition to a full college level certification, inmates will also be eligible to complete an Automotive Service Excellence Certification, the most coveted certification for mechanics in the United States.

“The significance of this program extends beyond the classroom,” Brown said.

“For these inmates, it isn’t just about acquiring skills; it is about gaining a tangible opportunity for a second chance. Upon successful completion of the program, they will transition into a commercial work program with PRIDE Enterprises. Here, they will put their newfound expertise to practical use, honing their skills in a controlled, professional environment.”

Instructor RJ Himes going over safety curriculum.

Through the partnership with Palm Beach State College, inmates will undergo a rigorous credentialing and certification process, not only learning a trade but becoming proficient in the field, so they can successfully enter the job market upon completion of their sentences.

PRIDE Enterprises is a self-funded enterprise whose mission makes a positive difference in Florida by making communities safer and saving taxpayers money by training eligible inmates in vocational skills and transitioning them into the job market upon completion of their sentences.

This job-centered approach lowers the number of repeat offenders and reduces criminal justice costs for Floridians. PRIDE is not run for a profit, and it combines enterprise with social mission to create a positive impact on communities, people, and customers.

Staff Reports


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