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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary


For Immediate Release
November 9, 2000
For More Information
DOC contact: Bill Woolley,
(850) 410-4412
Ford contact: Bob Breen,
(770) 422-7171

Press Advisory:
Ford to Donate Car for
Prison Program

WHO: Ford Motor Company and the Florida Department of Corrections.
 
WHAT: Presentation of a 2000 Ford Focus to Dade Correctional Institution's "Smart Car" autotronics applied technology class.
 
WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 10:30 am. Briefing at 10:00 am in warden's office.
 
WHERE: Dade CI, Florida City (19000 SW 377th Street, phone: 305-242-1710.)
 
WHY: In a public-private partnership venture, Ford Motor Company will donate a 2000 Ford Focus to the "Smart Car" autotronics class at Dade CI. While autotronics programs have been offered at schools for many years, this is the first installation in a U.S. prison. What makes this particular high-tech auto electronics class unique is that Dade CI is a female institution.

The "Smart Car" auto electronics program trains students how to trouble shoot, diagnose and repair state-of-the-art electronic components found in today's cars. In Florida and nationwide, the demand for skilled autotronics technicians outstrips the available labor pool. Some dealerships have been offering a "signing bonus" to qualified technicians.

The Ford Focus will be fitted with a wiring harness that connects the car's computer to the teacher's management workstation. The teacher can then program specific problems into the car for the students to diagnose and repair.

Using inmate labor, the old auto repair bay at the prison was remodeled to resemble a typical automotive dealer repair facility and allow placement of the Ford Focus in the center of the classroom.

Upon completion of this 1,200-hour program and release from prison, DOC's ReConnect Job Placement Program will assist the ex-offender in finding a job with an automotive repair facility. Research has shown that offenders who are taught a viable trade and are placed on a good paying job tend not to return to prison as frequently as those that do not have marketable job skills.

Broward County schools' Sheridan Technical Center in Hollywood worked with DOC in contacting the Ford Motor Company to secure the new Focus.