A groundbreaking ceremony on Monday celebrated the Michigan Department of Corrections first Vocational Village at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility, the state’s only prison for women.

The first-of-its-kind skilled trades training program prepares prisoners for careers in high-demand fields by providing a positive learning community for prisoners to live, work and attend classes. The Vocational Village can train up to 180 prisoners in fields such as computer coding, carpentry, cosmetology, 3D printing, and graphic design.

“The majority of those in prison will be paroled and they need stable jobs in order to succeed in their communities,” Gov. Rick Snyder said.

The Vocational Village at Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility will be the state’s third site for the program overall. More than 70 percent of prisoners who complete training at the Vocational Village secure and maintain employment and participants can receive nationally-recognized certifications in their trade upon successful completion of their courses

“We’re excited to expand this important program to include skilled trades training for incarcerated women who will be returning to our communities,” MDOC Director Heidi Washington said. “When these prisoners obtain the education and skills they need to secure work in growing fields, they have better chances for long-term success. That means our communities are safer and the lives of prisoners and their families are improved.”

Construction on the 27,000-square-foot site, which includes renovations to 10,000 square feet of existing building space, is expected to be completed in 2019.