“Tutoring with the Kansas Work Keys program” By Paul Stotts

For the past month, I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer for a program called “Mentouring 4 Success.” This program matches inmates getting ready for release in the next 12 months with a mentour from the community to assist with skills such as job skills, education, housing, and general transation from prison skills. Of all the programs I’ve been a part of in my past 11 and a half years in prison, this is by far on of the most benificial and helpful.
As a volunteer, I assist with the educational training part of the program. There are 12 computers in the lab area that are set up with what is called “Kansas Work Keys.” Work Keys is a standardised test that has three tests. One is math, another is reading work place documents, and the last is reading charts and graphs. The tests are timed at 55 minutes each.
Upon completion of the tests, a score of bronze, silver, gold, or platnum is awarded. Since this is a standardised test, the scores are recorded online and can be used in a job application. I took the test about 3 weeks ago and scored a gold. The one area that I needed to improve a bit was in reading workplace documents. I’ve studied on the subject for the past three weeks and retested yesterday. To my suprise, I scored a platnum on the test!!!!! This was extreamly incouraging, as I’ve put in quite a bit or work on this educational program. Reentry works with several employers in the community. Over 200 employers recognise the Kansas Work Keys test in their hiring process. I’ve been told there are several employers that will hire right out of prison with a gold or platnum certificate.
Next Monday, a new group of inmates within 12 months of release will join this program. I will have the oportunity to assist them with their education and hopefully help them get a gold or platnum. Several of the students in this last graduating class thanked me for the time I spent helping them with their education. This was an extreamly rewarding feeling and a program that I’m happy to say I’ve been able to help with.
I’ll keep you up to date on how the new class goes as we get started.
Positive wishes and have a blessed day,

Paul Stotts
DOC #93319

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