Warner Robins, Ga. – In December 2018, Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC) and the CGTC Foundation recognized Joshua Brown as the second-ever winner of the Re-Entry Scholarship for Educational Transition (RESET). And while the funds went toward books, like many other scholarships, the availability of the money is what held the most value.
“Coming out, many people probably would not think that anyone really cares about someone who has been incarcerated,” Brown said, who served his time from May 2013 to late June 2016 for an aggravated assault charge, during his first time in college.
“Normally, society treats you as though you have been cast aside, and you will be stuck in that demographic forever. But this scholarship showed me that there are people other than my family that truly believe in me.”
The Foundation announced the RESET scholarship for students prior to the spring 2018 term at the College. The Office of Re-entry Services, led by executive director Dr. Brittany Lucas, worked with the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) to establish the $250 per semester award for an actively enrolled student in good academic standing who has been previously incarcerated in a Georgia public or private corrections facility, and has applied to college within two years of release.
“Joshua is a great example of what can be. He has a network of family, peers, and College faculty and staff who want to see him and other formerly incarcerated citizens succeed in today’s globally competitive marketplace,” said Lucas. “As he prepares to walk in the College’s graduation ceremony, I stand with all who have supported him, extending congratulations on a job well done.”
Brown will walk alongside his peers at CGTC’s Commencement Ceremony, Friday, May 3, 2019, to receive an associate’s degree in Networking.
“Without help, I would not have been able to get as far as I have gone now, and RESET was a part of that,” Brown said.
Pursuing Networking was a big goal of his over the last few semesters as the program offers strong insight into high-demand career options.
Typically, current and formerly incarcerated citizens find difficulty visualizing a career path and job sustainment upon re-entry into the workforce. Education often takes a backseat. It may not be that individuals do not necessarily want to improve their knowledge, but that finding work and securing income take priority.
“My story is a little different than the typical person. When I got incarcerated I was already in college and education has always been a huge part of what I wanted to do,” he said. “When I was in, I just so happened to be in a facility that offered a lot of different programs and opportunities, and I jumped on them as soon as I could.”
Brown also credits his parents with helping solidify a path back to stability on the outside. With their encouragement, he took a few weeks’ time and found a job. As soon as he felt like he could focus on education, he went for it. As he said now, “I just keep moving, paying for what I did, but also moving along.”
“What I hope my pursuit of education and career shows employers is that I am ‘reformed’ and that I fit into society and I can do what I put my mind to,” he added.
One of the areas he is putting his mind to is being a voice for the previously incarcerated. He said he has met people like him who do not understand that they have options for education, and it disappoints him that there is little done to express those options.
The economy needs jobs and employers need employees, and Brown stressed that people like himself are a solution.
“Very few people can come out of prison and already have everything they need, but to those who don’t, I say go for it. You have everything against you, but whatever you can do to not hurt your reputation, or add to what you have been through, go for it and do not stop until you get it.”
CGTC’s commencement ceremony will be held at the Macon Centreplex Coliseum, Friday, May 3 at 7 p.m., and is free and open to the public. Additionally, CGTC’s ceremony will be live streamed and may be viewed at www.centralgatech.edu. A link will be available the day of the event.
Photo: Joshua Brown, is the second-ever winner of the Re-Entry Scholarship for Educational Transition (RESET) awarded fall semester 2018. He served time in prison and is now set to graduate from the College in May.