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News Release
Trusted Tester Program Comes To Coffee Creek Correctional Facility - 07/12/18

In May, Oregon Correctional Enterprises (OCE) announced the successful startup of a new work program for incarcerated women at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF). Five women completed months of rigorous training and testing to become Trusted Testers certified by the Office of Accessibility Systems and Technology under the Department of Homeland Security. The graduation ceremony is July 26 at 10:30 a.m. at CCCF.

Through OCE’s partnership with Access2online, the company which operates the work and training program inside CCCF, these five women are now qualified to test websites (in an offline environment) for accessibility to the visually impaired. Their expertise joins the national effort to allow the visually impaired to benefit from the internet that has become an essential part of life in most of the world.

While the Access2online program is relatively new to the prison environment, it is already supporting successful transition from incarceration into Oregon communities. Upon release from prison, the first two participants in the program had jobs waiting for them with the Access2online corporate office. Ninety-five percent of the men and women incarcerated in Oregon’s prisons will ultimately release from Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) custody; plans to grow the Access2online program include training and employing additional women at CCCF as well as the addition of satellite programs at other Oregon institutions.

Those releasing from incarceration are discovering how essential the internet is for everyday life in the United States. Most job applications, information about public services, and even grocery orders can be processed online; but many adults in custody have never touched a computer, let alone surfed the web. While American prisons do not allow those in our care to have unfettered access to the internet, most states, including Oregon, have developed offline environments or secure, direct portals to specific sites which allow for education, training, and production. Industry-recognized certifications are difficult for those in custody to obtain because most testing is done online, but the recent partnership with DOC, OCE, Access2online, and the Department of Homeland Security is evidence that difficult does not mean impossible.

Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE) is a semi-independent, self-funded state agency which operates under the Director of Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC). Created by statute in 1999 to help DOC meet its constitutional mandate to engage adults in custody (AICs) in meaningful work and training opportunities, OCE currently operates various production and service programs in 10 DOC facilities. While primarily teaching work skills to prepare over 1300 AICs for successful re-entry into Oregon communities, OCE’s programs also keep the AICs engaged in activity, thus reducing idleness that can lead to types of behavior which affect the safety and security of the institutions.