Inmates & Jobs

Correctional Industries

I have been working in CI now since 2013. CI is a huge factory. It has a metal shop, wood shop, chair shop, panel shop, and a power coating system with 2 giant ovens. I work in the metal shop fabrication area.

Working with metal, something I have never done before.

I started out in the grind pit. Working at cutting and grinding on different things that are welded and fabricated there.

I made it known to my boss that I was interest in learning how to weld. So I was givin the go ahead to learn in my spare time.

I have never held a welder or even seen one before in my life. This was all a new experience for me.

In the welding area there are 5 welders that work in this area. One guy that’s the lead. He’s considered the Lv 4.

The higher the Lv the more responsibility you have, and the higher you get paid. The highest is Lv 4.

On my 15 minute breaks during the day I picked up the welder and learned how to weld. I got the basics from the lead welder on what to do. Showed me how to hold the gun, what to look for when laying a bead and a few quick tips and tricks to get started.

He took some time and started showing me how and what to do. I was learning fast. In just two months I was welding pretty good. So good, I was told as soon as a welding position opens up I can have it.

There shortly after that, say a week or two a position opened up and I was in. The new guy. I am now the bottom of the totem pole.

Fast foreword 3 years. I am now the Lv 4 welder. Look at me now!

I do have experience in building things. I have worked with my dad building decks, sheds, tree houses, tables, work benches and so forth. I have roofed houses and done framing too. I am no stranger to a tape measure. Just welding.

Working with metal and welding is something I have always wanted to do. I like working on cars. Not knowing how to weld, its kinda something that’s held me back in that area. Not knowing how to weld or work with metal has been out of reach for me. The opportunity has never presented itself. I have never had the chance to give it a try. All my experience has been with wood.

Funny how prison has given me that chance. I applied for a job, got an interview, sold myself and got into a metal shop.

Not everyone is hired at CI. You do have to have some qualifications to get in certain areas of the factory.

I have found something I am actually good at. And more important I enjoy what I am doing.

I get excited thinking about all the opportunitys I have available to me for jobs when I get out because of this CI job.

Everyday I just keep getting better at it too. I also have enough skill, confidence in myself and trust from my boss to be able to teach others this trade. And that is assume!

What’s weird for me, is that some people look up to me for direction and knowledge. I’m not used to that at all. Its something that is a work in progress.

Jesse Bailey
DOC #879476

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