Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Leadership and Policy

First Advisor

Michael F. Addonizio


Inmates face challenges in obtaining employment once they leave prison because many are undereducated and lack work skills. This study examined demographic and criminogenic variables of inmates in Michigan Department of Correction's (MDOC) Community and Employment Readiness Training (CERT) and Michigan State Industries (MSI) programs that were associated with their scores obtained on the WorkKeys® assessment test. MDOC uses the WorkKeys® to assess the gaps between inmates' current job readiness skill level and skills needed for various types of jobs upon release. There is no published literature comparing MDOC's Community and Employment Readiness Training (CERT) and Michigan State Industries (MSI) programs and their WorkKeys® scores. Unidentifiable data were collected from records provided by the Michigan Department of Corrections from inmates in the CERT and MSI programs, with 106 participants from each program. Demographic and criminogenic information was collected for this research as well as test scores attained on the WorkKeys® assessments by the participants in the CERTS and MSI programs comparing which variables were associated with scores on three of the WorkKeys® assessments in: Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information and Locating Information. Statistical analyses for this research study included factorial multivariate analyses, and stepwise multiple linear regressions were used to assess relationships among the demographic and criminogenic variables and their associations on the WorkKeys®. Findings for research question 1 indicated that the number of years of formal education was related to outcomes on subassessments for the WorkKeys® assessment. For research question 2, participants in the CERT group had higher scores for applied mathematics, locating information, and reading for information than participants in the MSI group. Participants who completed their education before their first incarceration scored higher on each subassessment than those who completed their education while incarcerated. When looking at variables on research question 3 that could be associated with the WorkKeys® assessment scores, being White, younger, and level of education were the only variables that were significant. Results from this study could provide administrators, educators, and legislators important information to develop programs and curriculum to better assess and train prisoners for employment after they have completed their sentences.