Workforce Development (OWDS)

Offender Workforce Development Specialist (OWDS) training is a career focused approach that provides practitioners with practical tools to assist individuals returning to society from a time of incarceration. The OWDS curriculum was developed through a partnership between the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and the National Career Development Association (NCDA). The OWDS training focuses on the development of a meaningful career for formerly incarcerated individuals.

OWDS training is a comprehensive, 180-hour curriculum that is delivered in 3 one-week segments occurring over a four month time frame. There are 120 hours of classroom work and an additional 68 hours of homework and self-study that is required between the classroom sessions.

Participants study, take quizzes, participate in numerous activities, have a comprehensive final exam and complete homework projects including a video assignment. These assignments are scored by an OWDS Certified Instructer. An overall grade of 70 or above must be obtained for a participant to receive certification.

The OWDS program includes three essential elements:

  • Creation of partnerships between the criminal justice system, community organizations, and a broad array of governmental agencies
  • Training in 11 competency-based skills that meet the requirements for certification through the NIC (OWDS Certification) and the NCDA (Certified Career Services Provider, CCSP) Center for Credentialing and Education (Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) certification)
  • Development of comprehensive action plans by training participants for implementation into their respective agencies and jurisdictions

Indiana has certified more than 400 individuals since program inception in 2011.

OWDS Building Bridges Team Members Map