STAR Community Justice Center, a community-based correctional facility intended to promote public safety and reduce prison commitments, opened its doors in Franklin Furnace, Ohio, in 2001. What began as a 150-bed facility is now a 250-bed, American Correctional Association (ACA) facility; one of 19 such facilities in the state of Ohio.
The primary purpose of those facilities is the rehabilitation of non-violent, felony offenders in the 19-county region that they serve. Offenders participate in intensive cognitive-behavioral treatment that addresses barriers that may prohibit individuals from living a crime-free, pro-social lifestyle once released.
Vocational training was introduced to the STAR Center in the early 2000s working with then-director Dan Hieronimus. Collins Career Technical Center (CCTC) in Chesapeake, Ohio began training programs in food service and building and grounds maintenance, but with changes in administration and personnel, those programs were soon discontinued.
Starting in 2013, CCTC began providing 120-hour training in food service. Program participants receive a national industry-recognized credential from Safe Serve. The building and grounds maintenance program is also a 120-hour certificate program.
In 2016, STAR Director Eddie Philabaun made a decision to raise the bar with more vocational training, and CCTC set up shop for a residential electricity training program. The resulting program covers 300 hours, with students earning an industry-recognized Core and Level One National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Certification.
In 2017, CCTC began a 300-hour administrative assistant program earning an Office Proficiency Assessment & Certification (OPAC) certificate. The next step was to begin offering the Adult Diploma Program in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Education; providing the opportunity for those in either program to earn a high school diploma by achieving the state-mandated scores on the ACT WorkKeys assessment while earning an industry recognized credential.
According to CCTC administration and staff, the common thread running through this history is that hope is being provided to all who come through these programs.
To date, Collins Career Technical Center has served 1,240 STAR residents since 2013 and issued 49 adult diplomas.