Walton County Jail sparking interest in a new trade

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WTVY) -- Finding a job is sometimes a challenge, made even harder if you're in jail.

Many inmates just want to do well when they get out and one county jail is helping by sparking interest in one trade.

Brian Grant is an inmate in the Walton County Jail. He’s enrolled in a six week class taught by Northwest Florida State College professor Scott Bennett.

He says,
"Makes us a better person than what we have been, based on our past history."

Professor Bennett says,
"It means everything, to be able to pass on my love of welding and see they get the skills and use them so that when they get out, they can get that job."

Bennett says welding opens a lot of doors:

"You can start out at $15 an hour and work your way up to $50 an hour."

And even though class just started, he is eager to help these guys anyway he can.

"We get close, even though the class is only in its 2nd week, I feel like they are my kids almost."

This is a initiative everyone at the jail is passionate about.

Deann Bartram is Vocational Programs Manager, she says,
"Some of the guys and girls have never had an opportunity like this so we are hoping they take it and give back."

And that's what motivates Brian.

He says, "I believe if I occupy my time with something that is good, I can progress and not have to come back to a place like this."

The jail is working to get a new class to teach inmates how to operate heavy equipment.

It starts in a few months.