Davis Technical College celebrates 103 graduates at the Utah Department of Corrections
Call it a secret handshake; education will open doors.
Kaysville, Utah (November 17, 2023) – Davis Technical College (Davis Tech) is proud to announce the largest graduating class to date at the Utah Department of Corrections (UDC). On Monday, November 13, 103 men and women graduated with certificates from eight programs. 42 graduates attended the ceremony at UDC, while 53 students have already been released to put their new skills to use. To celebrate, many were in attendance, including administration, faculty, family, and friends.
“Davis Tech and the Utah Department of Corrections have partnered for almost 15 years to provide world-class technical education to incarcerated individuals,” began Dan Powers, Davis Tech Director of Rehabilitative Programs. “In that time, we have witnessed many individuals take this opportunity and never look back. I encourage you, the graduates, to embrace your newfound knowledge and move forward. Seek out opportunities that excite you. Create a space for you to flourish and fulfill you.”
Many graduates appeared to be in agreement with this sentiment and regard their recently acquired technical education as a new beginning.
Becky Golly, who graduated with a certificate in Business Administrative Services this week, is transferring credits from Davis Tech to Salt Lake Community College to complete her Associate of Science in General Studies. “Furthering my education was only a pipe dream several years ago. I worked at least two jobs at a time to support myself and my children,” said Golly to the other graduates. “I never imagined that I would get to have the opportunities that I have here at the prison. Getting my education while I've been here has opened so many doors for me. When I leave here, I will be able to have a career I like, not just a job. Furthering my education has changed who I am today. My future looks brighter than before. I know I can change the world and so can you.”
Daniel Rivera, who graduated from both Business Administrative Services and CNC Machining, had one question in mind when asked to give his graduation speech, "How much does it pay?"
“I say that as a joke, of course, but am I really joking? Because when it comes to money: getting, making, earning, bribing, hustling…I'm not playing around. And when I look around this room, I see familiar faces. I know that you aren't playing around when it comes to the hustle either. Most of us, and you know who you are, bring that to the table–the hustle mentality. Maybe you worked construction, a 9-to-5 office job, or were out on the streets hustling. Whatever your method was, I'm pretty sure you had a hustle mentality that didn't stop. It didn't stop you because you ended up locked up from it.”
“Your attendance, your willingness, your dedication to this program shows that you want something better. You strive for the next level of education. This training that we have received is that key to unlock the door to the next level, whatever that looks like. You had to demonstrate a hustler's spirit to be here today, graduating.”
Rivera continues, “This certificate is a means to an end. A way to get your foot in the door. You can call it a secret handshake if you want, but the fact is that this education will open doors for you. In addition to the skills you are taking out of here, you are also taking with you a path to get your foot in the door. Now you can combine that access with that hustler’s mentality that each of you possesses. My friends, your future is wide open. This is only the beginning.”
Davis Tech and UDC partner to provide valuable skills and knowledge to help individuals transition back into their communities. Over the last three years, only 22 percent of Davis Tech UDC graduates have returned to prison compared to 66 percent recidivism nationwide.
On November 9, UDC awarded Davis Tech the Corrections Champion Award, presented to local lawmakers and organizations who have shown exceptional support for the Department of Corrections’ mission to improve people’s lives and enhance community safety.
Photo: Daniel Rivera, Davis Tech graduate, speaking at the Utah Department of Corrections graduation ceremony