Prison hiring for vocational education jobs

-A A +A
By Brian Funk, Editor

INDEPENDENCE — In a move that suggests Grayson County’s new state prison will be as much about education as incarceration, the Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) is hiring several teaching and instructional positions.
As the DOC prepares to open the long-awaited River North Correctional Center in October, the department will hold an employment opportunity fair for the public on April 17.
DOC says that its educational division is seeking qualified candidates to fill several academic and vocational teaching positions, including principal, librarian, test control officer and teachers for special education, heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC), adult education, masonry, business education, custodial maintenance, roofing and siding.
The medium-security facility was completed in 2010, but has been dormant since then. There was no money to operate it until the Virginia General Assembly and Gov. Bob McDonnell allocated nearly $18 million in this year’s state budget to pay for operations.
It is expected to employ about 350 people, and state officials have said only about 80 experienced workers will transfer to River North from other correctional facilities. Ben Wright has been named warden, transferring to Grayson from a state facility in Emporia.
Last month, the DOC advertised other positions at River North, including accountant, business manager, executive secretary, fiscal technician, human resources officer, personnel assistant, secretary senior and storekeeper supervisor.
Employment applications will not be accepted at the job fair, the DOC says. Additional job fairs will be scheduled later.
Applicants must pass a pre-employment agility test, drug test, and background investigation.
To qualify, applicants should have a high school diploma or equivalent, a valid driver’s license and must demonstrate the ability to read and comprehend workplace policies and procedures and to prepare workplace reports and documentation. Applicants can have no felony or domestic violence convictions.
For corrections officers, the DOC says training, uniforms and equipment are provided.
According to the DOC, corrections officers will “provide security over adult offenders at the institution and while in transport. Supervise the daily activities of offenders while observing and recording their behavior and movement to ensure their safe and secure confinement. Interact with the visitors, staff, offenders and public to maintain orderly and secure operations.”
The DOC prefers that applicants have a Career Readiness Certificate, a stable employment history. Military or related criminal justice experience is a plus, as is criminal justice coursework at a community college, college or university.
The state prefers that applicants are at least 21 years old, but a waiver may be provided by the Unit Head for individuals ages 18-20.
Spanish-speaking applicants are encouraged to apply, the DOC says.
The facility will hold more than 1,000 prisoners in four separate units, each containing 256 cells on two levels, according to Moseley Architects, the firm that designed the prison.
There is also a support building housing 20 segregation cells, intake, food service, laundry, vocational technology and visiting; and a 30,000-square-foot industries building.
Additional buildings are located outside of the secure perimeter, including an administration building, a maintenance/warehouse building and a hazardous materials storage building.

The job fair will be held April 17 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the River North Correctional Center gymnasium, 329 Dell Brook Lane in Independence. More information about qualifications for these positions will be provided at the meeting, or at http://cfm.vadoc.virginia.gov/. Applications for posted jobs also are available at the website.