Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago – December 8th, 2023
In a landmark event held at the COSTAATT City Campus, the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT) and Vision on Mission (VOM) solidified their commitment to societal transformation by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This collaboration marks a significant stride toward the rehabilitation, reintegration, and empowerment of formerly incarcerated individuals, deportees, socially displaced persons, and at-risk youth across Trinidad and Tobago.
The MOU establishes a comprehensive framework for cooperation between COSTAATT and VOM, focusing on equipping individuals with accredited skills and competencies through formal education. The primary goal is to enhance accessibility to viable career options and entrepreneurial pathways, thereby fostering a positive transition back into society.
Dr. Keith Nurse, President of COSTAATT, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, emphasizing the institution’s commitment to addressing recidivism through tangible actions. Dr. Nurse expressed gratitude to vital stakeholders, including the Incarceration Nations Network / INN and The The International Legal Foundation, for their invaluable support. He also gave special mention to the JB Fernandes Memorial Trust for funding COSTAATT’s pioneering Link-Up Programme, which is now entering its pilot phase as a prison-to-college initiative.
Dr. Keron King, Ph.D , Senior Lecturer in the Department of Criminal Justice, Human Security and Legal Studies at COSTAATT, outlined the foundations of Link-Up, emphasizing the pivotal role of education, employment, and housing in effecting meaningful change for formerly incarcerated persons. The Link-Up Programme, structured to facilitate reintegration through education, life skills, and robust support systems, is poised to make a substantial impact on both its participants and society at large.
Giselle Chance, CEO of Vision On Mission, highlighted the historic significance of the collaboration, citing her late husband Wayne Chance and his personal journey from incarceration to founding VOM over two decades ago. She praised COSTAATT for its leadership and commitment, envisioning a transformative impact on individuals who have been historically marginalized due to societal stigmatization.
Chance underscored the importance of educational access and entrepreneurship in combating the challenges faced by formerly incarcerated individuals seeking employment. She stated that the collaboration aims not only to offer solutions but also to contribute to research, laying the groundwork for future projects aimed at tackling recidivism.
The partnership between COSTAATT and VOM signifies a proactive approach toward societal inclusivity and the holistic reintegration of marginalized individuals. By combining COSTAATT’s educational expertise with VOM’s experience and support systems, this collaboration heralds a new era of opportunity and empowerment for those seeking a second chance.