Walton County inmates building a new future through welding

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DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WJHG / WECP) – Eight Walton County inmates are learning welding techniques and it's all to help their futures.

The Walton County Sheriff's Office has announced these eight inmates will participate in a six-week welding class conducted by Northwest Florida State College.

During the course, inmates will learn flux core welding and how to use tools like a cutting torch and plasma cutter. The class will be taught by NWFSC Adjunct Professor Scott Bennett.

“I love to teach and pass on my knowledge,” said Bennett. “If I can make a difference in their lives for better that’s all I could ask for.”

WCSO is partnering up with Northwest Florida State College to work with businesses like Eastern Shipbuilding Group and Gulfstream Shipbuilding to provide jobs for inmates after they are released.

“Our goal is to reduce the chance of these men to return to jail and increase their odds at a brighter future,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “Hopefully, they will see this as an opportunity to change their life when they return to the community.”

The WCSO hopes to start more vocational opportunities in the future such as heavy equipment operations.