NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development says this week’s unemployment claims are down by about 300 when compared to last week.
While the numbers are down, Tennessee’s unemployment rate is still higher than the national average, and the Tennessee Department of Correction tells News 2 they want to help those seeking a career path.
“It is deemed essential work which means you always got a job, which means you don’t have to worry about the status of the economy, which means you’re always employed,” said Warden James Holloway of the Lois M DeBerry Special Needs Facility.
TDOC said that they’re looking to hire correctional officers for 10 state facilities, 4 of which are located in Middle Tennessee.
“It’s not a popular choice when the economy is going great because people always find something that’s a little bit easier. We don’t look for people that want a job we look for people that want a career.”
Corporal Damian Phillips has been a correctional officer for almost 12 years, he said maintaining a set of core values has kept him safe.
“As long as your firm, fair and consistent you shouldn’t have any problems behind the wall,” said Phillips. “You have a lot of team members that are with you, you have a lot of backup.”
He said the job security is an added bonus.
“You always have a job.”
Since March 15, over 800,000 Tennesseans have filed unemployment claims; Davidson and Shelby Counties have the highest unemployment rates in the state.
Holloway said after one to two years of employment with TDOC, the state will pay for continuing education, he added that there’s an opportunity to move to new roles
“You may work as a correctional officer for two to three years and think, ‘…you know what being a correctional officer is not my field of expertise, I’d like to be an accountant. You can go back to school and get your bachelor’s degree in accounting and come back and work for the Department as an accountant,” said Holloway.
He used himself as an example of the possible career progression.
“I started out as an accountant and now I’m a warden.”
Phillips said the most rewarding part of being a correctional officer is the chance to help inmates turn their lives around.
“It’s a chance to make a difference in somebody’s life,” said Phillips.
To apply, click here.