Martinsville, VA - For the first time, Martinsville City Jails are offering tests for the inmates to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate.For Felicia Turnage, going to jail for shoplifting may have felt like hitting rock bottom. But now, just days away from finishing her six month sentence, Turnage says her time behind bars changed her life in a way she never expected.
"When the jail gave me a chance to see what I was made of, I took it. And I'm glad that they did," said Turnage.
A total of 21 inmates, including Turnage, decided to take the three tests to get a National Career Readiness Certificate. Turnage, along with seven others passed.
"I'm really proud of myself and I feel like they're proud of me too," said Turnage.
Paid for by grants, the test had never been issued by Martinsville City Jails before.
"This is the first time for this one, it will not be the last," said Sheriff Steve Draper.
Draper says they do whatever they can to help with inmates' education, so they don't see them come back.
"I hope it better prepares them for employment when they get out of jail," said Draper.
The certificate shows how qualified you are for local jobs. Turnage says hers really represents much more, though.
"People can change, you believe that. They can. And I'm one of those people," said Turnage.
Turnage says she can't wait to get out of jail and prove it.
"I had a lot of dreams and I know that I'm not too old to make them happen...And I can't wait to get out and do it," said Turnage.
For those who pass, they get either a Gold, Silver, or Bronze level. That shows exactly how qualified you are for local jobs.
For more information go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyhpejUVpK0