CENTER FOR THE
CORRECTIONAL WORK FORCE OF THE FUTURE
new Center for the Correctional Work Force of the Future is officially
open at the ACA headquarters in Alexandria, VA.
The operation of this center has been made possible through funding by
the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
While the center will have many functions,
ACA envisions it as a vehicle to assist the association's corrections
colleagues in several human resource areas such as recruitment and
retention of staff, extending the work life of those soon to retire, and
reducing the cycle of time it takes to hire and train new employees. Jim
Gondles, executive director of ACA, said, "This center will be much more
than just a tool for the human resources aspect of corrections. Focusing
on issues that are important to corrections professionals, the center
also plans to focus on such areas as improving the image of corrections,
practicing good ethics in correctional settings and assisting with the
daily challenges presented in day-to-day correctional life." The
center will gather and make available resources highlighting "good
ideas" on programs that work so that others may adopt these to enhance
and/or streamline their own facilities’ activities and functions. This
Web site will include real-time tools to provide the most up-to-date
facts and research information.
While the center is still in its infancy, several positive
strides have already been made. An advisory council, consisting of
corrections professionals from all areas of corrections, has been
established with Joyce Fogg as its chair. A list of the members of the
Advisory Council can be found on this site.
Several center initiatives have begun with
many more to follow.
Already more than 50 workshops on work force issues have been completed
at ACA conferences and other association conferences.
A strategic planning focus group session was held at ACA's 137th
Congress of Correction in Kansas City, Mo.,
to obtain the field's perspective on trends in corrections. The group
corrections expects from the center and what type of
information and support the center should provide. They
also brainstormed ways to attract qualified applicants and retain
employees and how
to brand and market the center to corrections professionals and the
public. A summary of the ideas presented by the participants is contained on this
site. The May/June 2007
issue of Corrections Compendium published survey results on
"Correctional Officers: Hiring Requirements and Wages," updating a
portion of the initial work force survey. This, as well as the initial
(phase I) work force report and summary, are posted on this site.
The center has appointed Debbi Seeger, former ACA executive office
administrative manager, as the work force center coordinator.
ACA has also enlisted the
services of Ed Barlow, highly respected futurist, and Dick Judy,
internationally-known economist and author of the book Workforce 2020,
to assist with this endeavor. Jim Gondles; Elizabeth Gondles, Ph.D.;
Past President Chuck Kehoe; and
key ACA staff, including Jeff Washington, Gabriella Klatt,
and Leslee Hunsicker, as well as the Joyce Fogg, have also been
instrumental in the center's development and support the continuation of
"Criminal justice and specifically
corrections must be proactive in monitoring work force trends, making
appropriate adjustments and being a leader of innovations to maintain
and increase our most valuable resource: a qualified, well-trained
professional work force. The American Correctional Association has been,
and should continue to be, at the forefront in this dynamic endeavor of
keeping corrections competitive in a global economy," said Justin Jones,
director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and chair of the ACA
Probation and Parole Committee.
The center promises to fulfill a valuable need identified by the
field. ACA hopes that its members are excited about the center and that
they will participate in its development.
Members are encouraged to submit ideas on
ways the center can assist them by e-mailing
firstname.lastname@example.org or by
1-800-222-5646, ext. 0169. Ideas, suggestions and/or
comments are always welcome, and ACA looks forward to hearing from you.
BJA and ACA are committed to the shared
vision of developing strategies for recruiting and retaining a qualified
correctional work force in the 21st century. ACA will keep its members
informed as the journey continues.