RD228 - Feasibility Study of Creating a Juvenile Justice Apprenticeship Program

Executive Summary:
In response to language included in the 2012 Appropriation Act, the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) prepared a report on the feasibility of creating a juvenile justice apprenticeship program for the purpose of recruiting, training, and employing students who may be interested in pursuing careers in the juvenile justice system. This report discusses the potential benefits that the apprenticeship program would have for the DJJ and for the apprentices.

The apprenticeship program will be made up of students selected from the Criminal Justice program at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) who are interested in working in the criminal justice field. The apprenticeship will train students to become juvenile correctional officers (JCOs) by having them complete DJJ’s JCO Basic Skills Training as well as a three-credit online course at VCU. Students would then be employed as apprentice JCOs or related positions. VCU is currently participating in a successful program similar to the one proposed with DJJ with Henrico County’s Sheriff’s Office.

It is recommended that DJJ pursue a partnership with VCU and implement an apprenticeship program. Students involved in the program will gain valuable work experience that will guide them in their future career paths. Additionally, the program is expected to expand the applicant pool for juvenile correctional officers (JCOs) positions in DJJ. This will improve the quality of work within the facilities by increasing the number of high quality employees and decreasing the workload and overtime hours of current employees by filling current vacancies.