Wisconsin Program Gives Inmates Tools for Dairy Farm Jobs After Release

WISCONSIN  --  A new certification program in Wisconsin focused on dairy farming is making sure inmates will have the skills they need to find jobs after release.

Dairy farming is the last thing Emmanuel, a graduate of the Dairy Certificate Program, ever imagined himself being interested in, according to Haweya Fadal of NBC15.

"I knew how to hold a glass of milk and how to pour milk on cereal," said Emmanuel.

But after weeks of intensive training, he gained the knowledge and skill set to work on a dairy farm.

"You break it down and dissect the anatomy of a cow, milking procedures, different diseases you can get from milk," he said.

A welder by trade before he was incarcerated, Emmanuel said having an extra set of skills when he's released will be extremely beneficial.

"For a person that really wants to stay out of jail, wants to broaden his horizons, let's say I get out and I cant get a welding job, it's nice to know that I'm able to go work at a dairy, that I do know how to milk."

The dairy worker training program is offered through a partnership with Moraine Park Technical College. Correctional Enterprises director Wes Ray said this is the first program offered in agriculture.

"They learned all about herd feeding, health management and the milking process, the lactation cycle," he said.

After eight long weeks, the inmates graduate with their certificates. Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch says Wisconsin's developing economy means this program will give inmates the chance to work in a growing industry.

"There are over 300 dairy jobs and only eight of you. We need to do this over and over and more and more," she said.

Emmanuel said the course opened up new opportunities for which he is grateful.