Inmates seek new life through job training

Walton Jail inmates graduate from welding program. Photo: Walton Co. Sheriff's Office.

Six Walton County inmates are now trained for a career when they get out of jail.

The sheriff's office teamed up with Northwest Florida State College to offer welding classes . The college brought in a portable classroom filled with equipment and supplies for a six-week program.

Wednesday, six inmates graduated from the first class.

The idea started with Sheriff Michael Adkinson, who says it will keep the men out of jail in the future.

“If I can’t convince you it’s smart morally, I can convince you it’s smart fiscally,” said Sheriff Adkinson. “If one or two of these men don’t return to jail because of this program— it’s paid for itself.”

Graduates believe they're on the path to a new life.

34-year-old Kenneth Sanders said, “I've got to break the chain from coming back and forth to jail.”

“It's hard work,” said Bryan Grant, 37. “You have to earn it. But, it makes it all worth it.”

The other graduates are Anthony Harrison, 43; James Williams, Jr., 35; Brandon Penree, 22; and Richard Birch, 52.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is working alongside NWFSC to help with job placement.

The next class begins March 26th.

The Walton County Jail also offers other vocational opportunities, including a farming program.

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