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Department of Juvenile Justice Teams up with Community Partners to Provide Vocational Education to Troubled Youth in Marion County

Feb. 22, 2013


Meghan Speakes
850.921.5900 or 850.544.5387

Department of Juvenile Justice Teams up with Community Partners to Provide Vocational Education to Troubled Youth in Marion County   


OCALA – Today, Department of Juvenile Justice displayed the results of a successful partnership with D & D Asphalt, Marion County Public Schools, Oldcastle Materials and Youth Services International – a new building where youth at the Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility will develop hands-on vocational skills.

DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters said, “I firmly believe education is the key to keeping at-risk youth out of trouble and helping those who are already in the juvenile justice system avoid going any deeper into the system. Developing employment training programs is a critical component of the DJJ Roadmap to System Excellence and is in line with the public feedback we have received from the Roadmap tour.

“When working with youth, we must achieve a delicate balance; while we have a responsibility to the public to hold them accountable for their actions, we also need to foster an environment that increases their opportunity to become successful adults. Additionally, programs like this address the critical need to reach traditionally underserved minority youth.”

Research has shown that job-related interventions were associated with an average 6 percent reduction in subsequent re-offending for participating youth.

DJJ collaborated with Marion County Public Schools, which manages academic operations at the Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility, to offer the facility’s youth Core Curriculum through the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). NCCER is the industry’s accrediting body and the NCCER Core Curriculum is a prerequisite to all other Level 1 craft curriculum. Once youth complete the Core Curriculum, they will have the basic skills they need to continue in any of the 60 craft areas.

Representative Dennis Baxley, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said, “I applaud the Department of Juvenile Justice and its community partners – D & D Asphalt, Marion County Public Schools, Oldcastle Materials and Youth Services International – for working together to provide troubled youth in our community with the opportunity to develop an educational foundation that has the potential to benefit them for years to come. What’s been done here is truly a testament to the power of partnership and I am proud that it’s happening in my district.”

To ensure uniform and consistent delivery of training, NCCER requires instructors to complete the Instructor Certification Training Program (ICTP). Marion County Public Schools located federal funds and recruited an accredited teacher to provide vocational instruction to the facility’s youth.

Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility Lead Teacher Jane Routte, said, “The students here are very excited about the opportunity to take the construction class. With these students, it is important for them to see the relevance of what they are learning to their personal goals and future. The students see this as an opportunity to help them learn real skills, to earn a good living, and to help them avoid future problems with the law. They are actively searching for ways to travel to a brighter future for themselves and their families. I personally believe that vocational classes and hands-on learning will save many of our at-risk students from falling back into lives that have held them captive for too long.”

The Core Curriculum consists of two components – classroom and applied. The youth have had access to the classroom portion for approximately a month, but before this building, there wasn’t a place for them to complete the applied portion.

D & D Asphalt, a local business in Ocala, donated time, equipment and labor to the project and Oldcastle Materials/APAC Southeast, Inc., provided the material and trucking. APAC-Southeast, Inc. Executive Vice President Mark S. Marine said, “APAC was pleased to participate in such a worthwhile endeavor. We are confident the students and community will benefit from this collaborative effort."

DJJ residential provider, Youth Services International (YSI), bought and installed the building where the class is held. YSI Senior Vice President Jesse Williams, said, “YSI was very happy to participate as a partner in bringing this project to fruition. It is additional proof that Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility continues to excel in providing quality programming.”

Walters added, “I want to express my sincere gratitude to our partners for recognizing that education plays a critical role in successfully shepherding kids into adulthood and for donating their time, materials and expertise to make this dream a reality.”

To learn more about DJJ’s education initiatives, click here.


The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) strives to increase public safety by reducing juvenile delinquency, strengthening families and turning around the lives of troubled youth. To learn more, visit www.djj.state.fl.us and follow us on www.twitter.com/fladjj, www.facebook.com/fladjj and http://www.youtube.com/FLDJJ