Peru, Nebraska - The first student to complete the Correctional Leadership Scholarship Program will graduate from Peru State College on December 16, 2022. Paw Wah earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Legal Studies. Originally from Myanmar, Wah has been enrolled in the program since January 2020, and was among the first of three Peru State students to be accepted into the program and complete the Staff Training Academy (STA) through the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) in July 2021.
“During that six-week program, participating Peru State College students experience the same level of training that all other team members go through,” explained Craig Gable, warden at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution (TSCI). “They also complete on-the-job training at TSCI and upon graduation they deploy to the facility, just like any other staff member would.”
Wah worked more than 1,250 hours on shift at TSCI while also attending classes at Peru State College. In addition, he took advantage of leadership workshops offered through the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) to enhance his experience. Wah said participation in the Correctional Leadership Scholarship Program better prepared him to enter the workforce.
“I received hands-on training, learned effective communication skills, and gained knowledge of prison rules and regulations. In addition, I [have] become more mature in managing my emotions, thoughts, and actions.” Paw went on to say the program helped him “grow through daily experiences and through interactions with incarcerated individuals, while working at TSCI.”
Shawn Sherman, Workforce Liaison at Peru State College, said watching Wah gain experience and knowledge over the course of his enrollment has been remarkable. “I am incredibly proud of what he has accomplished, and I have been constantly impressed with his work ethic.”
Speaking of the program itself, Sherman said Wah’s transition from student to full-time staff member is exactly the type of outcome he wants to see. “We hope is that his is the first of many success stories. It is great to see a student graduate and go on to work for NDCS immediately upon graduation. Peru State College will continue to make every effort to train students, prepare them for a future as criminal justice professionals, and help them meet the overall mission of NDCS, which is to keep people safe.”
“It is gratifying to see that what was initially conceived, has come to fruition through this program,” said NDCS Interim Director Diane Sabatka-Rine. “Ours has been a great partnership with Peru State College, and a unique one in so many ways. Mr. Sherman had accompanied Warden Gable to conferences to present this program to other corrections professionals. We hope it may serve as a model for building a workforce within corrections, as well as developing future leaders who have the experience to lead their own facilities one day.”
In addition to paid facility experience and classroom instruction, the Correctional Leadership Scholarship Program provides an annual scholarship of $15,000, which covers tuition, fees, books, and other associated expenses. Students who are interested can learn more about the program and how to enroll by going to: peru.edu/corrections.
Nestled in the hills of historic southeast Nebraska, Peru State College offers a mix of innovative online and traditional classroom undergraduate and graduate programs, including online graduate degrees in education and organizational management.
Established in 1867 as Nebraska’s first college, Peru State has transformed over the past century and a half into a state-of-the-art institution offering diverse, multifaceted educational programs annually to nearly 2,000 students.
Press release contributed by Laura Strimple, Chief of Staff, Nebraska Department of Correctional Services and Shawn Sherman, Workforce Liaison at Peru State College