Bins, boxes and bags are in abundance at IPI’s Central Canteen, located in the Newton Correctional Facility. Incarcerated individuals in the job-training program here are busy at work fulfilling thousands of orders each day. And they’ve got it down to a science.
Efficiency is written all over the Central Canteen workspace. Each worker has mastered his duties, and together, they fill orders like a symphony. Various tasks are strung seamlessly together with the help of a forklift, a roller conveyor and a progress tracker.
The Central Canteen opened in July 2001, and was the first state-owned and operated commissary in the nation. Today, it reaches $6.8 million in sales and fills 20,000-25,000 orders a month. About 40 incarcerated individuals train at the Central Canteen, and these men enjoy the daily challenge of efficiency.
“A typical day here is busy but energetic and fun,” said *Jack, an incarcerated individual at the Central Canteen. Men in the shop here have a range of tasks to complete each day, but stay motivated and focused on the end goal.
“Their desire to excel and to be perfect at the job they are doing motivates me,” said Chad Squires, IPI Supervisor at the Central Canteen. Chad explained that he values teaching skills, responsibilities, work ethic and teamwork. When incarcerated individuals leave the program, Chad said he hopes they “know that if they apply themselves that anything is possible, and they can be a valued employee for an employer.”
Value is just as important as efficiency in this IPI Shop. Both Chad and incarcerated individuals have experienced the transformation that comes with being treated as a valuable member of the team.
“I have seen a lot come in with bad attitudes and not care about anything,” said Chad, ”but having the responsibilities makes their attitude much different.”
*Jack said one of his greatest accomplishments since beginning the training program was forming “relationships with others, which helps in a good work environment. I feel like an employee, not a prisoner.”
For more information on the Newton plant, please contact Plant Manager Justin Opfer at 641-791-9242 or firstname.lastname@example.org.