Peter Shikli is a hero. He would not say that himself, but many of the participants in his correctional education program would. In the corrections education field there are many challenges, and few programs are able to deliver relevant educational content due to constraints of conflicting objectives and lack of technology or connectivity. Peter Shikli found a way!
After completing a career in computer technology, Mr. Shikli found himself reflecting on his life’s work and questioning what his legacy was. In an effort to answer, he began working with incarcerated women at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, Oregon’s only state prison for women. Building on the skills and connections he had from his previous career, he worked to make internet connectivity safe and readily available inside the prison. Learning the need for adults in custody to gain skills that allow them to go to work for a living wage upon release AND knowing the need for federally funded organizations to have websites meet ADA accessibility standards, Shikli established a program to train and employ incarcerated persons to complete accessibility audits of websites for multiple clients through Access2online. Shikli says “helping inmates start a productive new life and helping the blind to get on the information highway – what’s not to like?” “When we started our program, some of the ladies asked how to turn on the computer so we started with the basics,” explained Shikli.
Under Mr. Shikli’s guidance, participants in the program complete a six-month training program overseen by the Department for Homeland Security to earn Trusted Tester certification to audit websites for accessibility.
“They learn a skill that is relevant and in-demand. Through collaborative efforts, Access2online is able to pay these analysts for their work while still incarcerated at a rate that far exceeds what prisons pay for routine work tasks,” Shikli says.
Not only do they get the opportunity to learn an in-demand job skill and get paid, they also get the opportunity for guaranteed job placement upon release plus $1,000 to aid in transition into the community. Now do you think Peter Shikli is a hero?
Access2online is a unique program. It is a culmination of passion for purpose, experience, connections, collaboration and determination facilitated through Peter Shikli. It is a success story in the corrections education field and it is a lifechanging program for its participants. Join KET as we congratulate Peter Shikli, the Oregon Department of Corrections, Oregon Corrections Enterprises and Access2online analysts in getting corrections education right!
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