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NexStep Unlocked Program provides needed support

by Carol Pitts last modified Mar 24, 2022 10:08 AM
Partnerships are an important part of the ongoing work at KDOC. The KDOC mission statement – Partnering to Promote Safety and Responsibility through Best Practices – highlights the importance placed on these partnerships.

“There are really too many for me to name,” said Kansas Secretary of Corrections Jeff Zmuda. “but I would like to highlight one partnership in the Wichita area. While the numbers affected so far may seem small, the impact the program is having is huge.”

The NexStep Unlocked program is affiliated with the NexStep Alliance, and in Kansas it is a partnership between KDOC, Goodwill Industries of Kansas, WSU Tech, Kansas Board of Regents and Workforce Centers of Kansas.

KDOC recommends individuals who are on parole or community corrections for the program, and while the number the program can accommodate is limited, the program is showing some great results.

“They help individuals with education goals, such as completing a high school diploma or career pathway certifications, along with life skills and employment,” Zmuda said.

The fourth group began in January and program grads are currently employed by Harper Trucks, Darling, Ellis Enterprises, Colwich Elevator, Coleman and ICT Wichita.

“Sometimes we tend to focus our measure of success on large numbers or percentages but instead I hope we can remain focused on each person, one at a time,” he said. “A program such as NexStep Unlocked may not be graduating large numbers, but each success story represents one more individual who has been reunited with their loved ones, is a contributing member of their community and is a good neighbor.”

That only happens because of the efforts of key KDOC staff in collaboration with the partners, Zmuda said.

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