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ACA's professionals train and certify the correctional work force.

Conference Workshops

"Best programs ever"; "Something for everyone"; "Consistent and high quality." These are a few of the comments ACA received as feedback on workshops presented at winter and summer conferences. More than 100 workshops are presented each year at these two conferences, and ACA's Professional Development staff work year-round with coordinators, speakers and the Program Council Planning Committee to ensure that members are offered a strong selection of educational workshops. Kelli McAfee, the programs and workshops coordinator, is always looking for workshops that are challenging, interesting, practical and timely and that appeal to the various learning styles of adults. Because ACA's members come from very diverse backgrounds, the program council seeks presentations that are interactive and involve audience participation, including roundtable-facilitated discussions, panels, and the more traditional "listen and learn" format.

One of the most requested and best attended workshop series at every ACA conference is the Workforce Issues series. Other programs that draw large audiences focus on juvenile justice, terrorism, the mentally ill offender and hostage negotiation. All of ACA's workshops have been approved for continuing education units (CEUs), continuing medical education (CMEs) and continuing education credits (CEs).

When a workshop is presented at an ACA conference, the presenters are also asked to submit their presentations to ACA's Publications Department for inclusion in the annual State of Corrections Proceedings. These volumes, which have been printed every year since 1870, provide a comprehensive chronological history of corrections.

It is easy to submit a workshop proposal. Simply send an e-mail to Kelli McAfee at that includes the workshop title, a paragraph describing the workshop and the names of the presenters. The more information provided, the better able ACA staff will be to decide how it might fit into the overall conference picture. The deadlines are always July 31 for the Winter Conference and December 31 for the summer Congress of Correction. All members are urged to get involved--this is your organization and your opportunity to shape the knowledge of the corrections community.


ACA's certification program promotes professionalism and commitment, in addition to enhancing feelings of personal accomplishment. As agencies grapple with an ever-changing work force, certification is one way to invest in employees.

The ACA certification program has continued to grow as more correctional agencies commit to the professionalism of their employees. The latest agency to become involved in the certification movement is the District of Columbia Department of Corrections. Director Devon Brown is supportive of certification and investing in his department's work force. Wexford Health, a Pittsburgh-based company that provides health care services to correctional institutions, has committed to the Nurse Certification Program for its nurses and nurse managers in Mississippi correctional facilities.

ACA is pursuing an initiative with the National Partnership for Careers in Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security. This initiative will provide high school and community college students the opportunity to become provisionally certified correctional officers. ACA and the National Partnership have been working with Arkansas, Maryland, Michigan and Texas to design a program that will enhance the careers of young people who want to enter the corrections profession, as well as to provide correctional agencies with knowledgeable employees. Preparing the work force of tomorrow has started today at ACA.


ACA's Professional Development Department offers a two-prong training approach: online correctional training through the Online Corrections Academy (OCA) and courses delivered at ACA headquarters and onsite at facilities throughout the U.S. for adult and juvenile correctional agencies. As training budgets tighten and the work force changes, now is a great time to consider ACA's training options. Perhaps a three-day workshop on organizational culture is in order or a course on dealing with change? ACA can provide technical assistance and training to meet any agency's needs.

Many organizations offer online certification courses, and choosing one to meet employee and agency needs can be a confusing process. Most of ACA's online courses meet the training requirements for ACA's standards and accreditation process, and they all go through a rigorous quality assurance process before they are ever offered to the public. In addition, most are approved for CEUs and several allow students to earn college credit. Whether your agency has a large number of employees to train and a short time in which to get it done or you are an individual employee wanting to strengthen your resume or expand your knowledge, ACA's online courses may be the answer. The association is reaching out to the field in every way it can to ensure a strong, educated, trained, professional work force.


ACA's Professional Development Department had its first intern this past spring. Christy Babb, a student at the University of Mississippi, worked with ACA on a number of projects. One of the outcomes was the development of a more formalized ACA internship program for college students. Babb sent letters and e-mails to colleges and universities along the Eastern Seaboard and in the Southeast announcing ACA's readiness to form educational partnerships. The ACA Web site now has student opportunities advertised, and inquiries are coming in for the fall semester. Babb had the opportunity to work at the Winter Conference in Grapevine, Texas; tour area prisons; meet with the directors of several federal correctional agencies in the Washington, D.C., area; attend Capitol Hill legislative hearings; and work on certification, grants and research. Babb also earned provisional corrections manager certification while attending classes and working four days a week at ACA's offices.

Investing in corrections' current and future work force--that is what ACA's Professional Development Department is all about. Everyone shares a responsibility to train and educate the correctional work force. As you think about your career, what investment will you make? What do you want your legacy to be?

Kathy Black-Dennis is director of the American Correctional Association's Professional Development Department.

RELATED ARTICLE: ACA Congratulates Newly Certified and Recertified Corrections Professionals

Newly Certified

* Pamela Clark, CCE, corrections director, Clark County Corrections, Vancouver, Wash.

* Scott Shafer, CCM, security and operations supervisor, Vermont Department of Corrections, Saint Johnsbury


* Sandra Amoia-Kowalczyk. CCM, deputy superintendent for security, New York State Department of Correctional Services, Albion

* Anthony D. Batson, CCE, deputy warden, Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Keithville

* Robert W. Manning, CCM/Juv., juvenile parole services supervisor. Ohio Department of Youth Services, Columbus

* Timothy V. Oyer, CCM, business administrator 3, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, Orient

* Matthew Reed, CCS, corrections captain, Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Angola

ACA's Professional Development Department has about 150 candidates scheduled to take the certification exam through August 2008. There are 21 exams scheduled and more are added each month. Check out the certification Web site for specific dates and sites:
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:American Correctional Association
Author:Black-Dennis, Kathy
Publication:Corrections Today
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2008
Previous Article:Correctional advisors recognized for their work in Haiti.
Next Article:Work Force Project makes strides.

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