NWTC instructor says 'Thank You' to inmates completing certificate program
Fourteen credits in fourteen weeks.
That’s how quickly a group of inmates from Sanger B. Powers Correctional Center earned a life-changing certificate from Northwestern Technical College.
The industrial maintenance certificate is offered to inmates at the minimal-security prison and is funded by the state’s Department of Corrections.
Those involved in the certificate said the education will not only help inmates find a job after they are done serving time, but their presence at NWTC will leave a lasting impression as well.
Over the past 12 years, NWTC’s electro-mechanical instructor, Ed Kralovec, has taught his fair share of students, but he credits the group of inmates with changing him as an instructor.
“With this group, it’s just so motivational, so good for your soul as an instructor to know what impact I can have,” said Kralovec. “They are so engaged. They are so looking for knowledge and want the opportunity, that it’s contagious, so you dive right in with them.”
Kralovec said there were plenty of days he went home exhausted after teaching because he had to come up with new ways to teach the tough curriculum.
“The ability for us to interact with them and ask questions was a tremendous advantage,” said William Haigh, who graduated with the Industrial Maintenance Certificate at NWTC. “For the final exam, they had more faith in us and our skills than we did.”
“As an instructor, that is such an incredible source of feedback that makes you a much better instructor. It’s something we don’t get from normal students, who, to be honest, are just working on their degrees,” said Kralovec. “This group is very passionate about mastering what they are doing.”
Kralovec said he never looked into why the inmates are serving time at Sanger B. Powers Correctional Center.
“I can’t change that,” said Kralovec. “I can only help change the future.”
Kralovec said it’s not only changing the inmates’ future but the future of his next students as well.
“Going forward, we are going to better instructors. We are going to have better material for our future students so you’ve actually helped the students coming in in just a couple weeks here,” said Kralovec.