A Tulsa state legislator is opening a new construction trades school for people leaving prison.
State Senator Kevin Matthews said it’s about giving people who have served their sentences a fair chance to reintegrate into society.
“A lot of people make mistakes and some of those people made mistakes that got them into the system. But now they have a second chance,” he said.
The project is personal to Matthews.
His childhood home was turned into the future site of the North Tulsa Community Construction School by Carl Walker; an entrepreneur who will teach there.
“I mean you have to break the cycle,” Walker said.
The overall goal is much more important than teaching people how to build.
This is an opportunity for a whole new life working with local construction companies and Habitat for Humanity.
“All of them are going to offer them jobs immediately after they graduate,” Matthews said.
A stable, livable income helps build wealth and independence.
“We will stop seeing people go back to jail because they had to start breaking the law again for a living,” Matthews said. “We will create more new owners who can pass ownership to the next generation, it’s a legacy building.”
The construction school will train dozens of future workers.
Matthew hopes this will help tear down the negative image of people who were previously incarcerated.
“To help these people not go back to prison, to help them know that they are valued. Because sometimes people throw them away. Sometimes people forget about them, or they put an X on their forehead like they weren’t good. . And that’s not true,” Matthews said.
There is still work to be done, but Matthews and Walker hope to have the school up and running by March 1, 2022.
You can learn more about the program by visiting this link: https://www.uidctulsa.org/