The mission of the Office of Adult Education and Vocational Services (OAEVS) is to provide to all incarcerated inmates an educational assessment that will determine the inmate’s achievement level, mandated basic literacy programming in reading and math for inmates who are below the 6th grade level, special education services to those who qualify with an educational handicap, a GED instructional program that will qualify the inmate to take and pass the GED test, and an instructional program in Life Skills that will better prepare them for community reintegration upon release. College academic and vocational courses are also available to qualifying offenders.
- Adult Basic Education – An open-entry program designed to provide individual instruction in basic math, reading and life skills to those who test below a 6.0 on the TABE test.
- Pre-GED – An open-entry program designed to improve individuals’ basic math, reading and life skills to improve TABE test results from 6.0 to 9.0 for entry into GED program.
- General Education Development (GED) – An open entry-program which will prepare an individual for the GED test as well as life skills. Program entry is based upon a TABE score of 9.0 or above.
- Special Education – Provides screening diagnosis and individualized instruction for learning disabled, behavior disordered, and mentally challenged students under the age of 21.
- Title I – Comprises instruction for neglected and delinquent learners less than 21 years of age in math and reading.
Vocational Programs offered at various facilities and requiring a High School Diploma or equivalent include:
- Custodial Maintenance – offers practical hand-on experience in floor care, cleaning and general light maintenance. (Both college and Office of Adult Education Program)
- Construction Occupations – provides instruction and hands-on experience in trades associated with construction and building maintenance. (Both college and Office of Adult Education Program. At Sheridan this is offered by Home Builders)
- Horticulture – programming designed to give the student skills in landscaping, greenhouse operations and turf management.
- Food Service – instruction in the fundamentals of nutrition and sanitation as well as extensive experience in all phases of food preparation.
- Auto Body – instructional program teaching the skills necessary for entry level employment in auto body.
- Auto Mechanics/Automotive Technology – provides instruction and hands on training in auto mechanics skills in repair of systems such as fuel, brakes, exhaust, ignition and cooling.
- Cosmetology – instructional program leading to state certification as a licensed cosmetologist.
- Nail Technology - instructional program leading to state certification as a licensed nail technician.
- Print Management – Printing and Graphics programs prepare offenders with skills such as offset printing, reproduction, type preparation and layout, graphic photography, lithography, binding, and other graphic arts related to the printing industry.
- Barbering - instructional program teaching the skills and techniques of barbering.
- Welding - Welding prepares offenders for positions of employment as welders in shielded metal as well as stick welding, gas metal arc welding (MIG), gas tungsten arc welding (TIG), flux cored arc (F caw) welding, and oxyacetylene cutting and welding. Comprehensive training in flat, overhead and horizontal welding positions is provided. Hands-on instruction is emphasized with additional theory presented in textbook and workbook format.
- Warehousing (Shipping/Receiving) - Offenders learn all functions of warehouse operations, including shipping, receiving, forklift operations, and data entry. Skills include OSHA regulations, record keeping, communication, and upkeep.
Non-certified Vocational programs on offer at select facilities are:
- Bridge Program (Sheridan) - makes instruction in employment skills and career exploration the context for learning basic skills. By connecting basic skills development to learning job skills and exploring career opportunities, the career bridge program helps to make learning relevant for adult students and motivate them to learn. The career bridge curriculum is designed to enable students with literacy levels too low for standard GED prep courses to build essential GED skills. Students who successfully complete the career bridge are ready for community college certificate and associate degree programs and for accelerated GED instruction.
- Occupational Homemaking (Dixon STC) –educational program that helps offenders learn skills needed for independent living.
- Laundry/Dry Cleaning (Dixon STC) – Students learn to operate machines that clean garments, blankets, draperies, fine linens, etc. Other subjects include customer service, interpersonal communication, basic chemistry, and workplace safety.
College degree programs allow the student to obtain an Associate’s by earning 60 college credits through acceptable performance in college classes offered by Community Colleges under contract with the Department at each facility.
All adult facilities operate law and general libraries. Law libraries contain Illinois and federal constitutions, statutes, and court decisions, as well as digests, annotations, legal encyclopedias, treatises, textbooks and access through library staff to on-line sources, to assist offenders in researching the law, and preparing meaningful initial legal papers in the exercise of their constitutional right of access to state and federal courts. General libraries provide books and magazines so residents may stay informed about current events and find recreational reading materials.