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Breaking into Corrections – Cathy Chamberland’s story

Women's Programs | Oct 28, 2014 | Back to List
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Cathy Chamberland stands outside the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in So. Burlington, Vt.

Cathy Chamberland was our very first applicant for the Step Up to Law Enforcement program in 2014. Her story is a familiar one. She is bright, energetic, strong and determined. Yet, despite her best efforts, her  aspirations to go into law enforcement were thwarted as her life took unexpected twists and turns.

She married young and when that partnership didn’t work out, she was forced to work a string of jobs that, although they provided financial support for her family, were largely unfulfilling. As her children grew and life moved on, Cathy felt further away from her dream of working in law enforcement. Although she knew what she wanted to do, she wasn’t sure how to break into the field.

When she applied for the Step Up program, she was working a security position with a Vermont company. She was enthusiastic and energized to find a position that gave her more meaning, responsibility and challenge.

“I have always wanted to become…either a police officer or correctional officer. I came from a family that has many relatives and friends in the corrections field. I have always found it to be interesting, challenging and rewarding. I have always thought of myself as being a part of the team to help our society and to protect those that can’t help themselves and need direction. When I heard of the Step Up for Law Enforcement program, I knew that I had my chance.”

During the nine-week Step Up to Law Enforcement training program, Cathy worked hard – practicing public speaking and interviewing techniques, revising her resume, and learning about the numerous options that the field of policing had to offer.

She honed in on working with Corrections as a career goal and specifically identified the local female prison facility – Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility (CRCF) – as her target employer.

Before the Step Up program ended, she applied for an open position at CRCF and was hired in July, spending five weeks at the Vermont Corrections Academy this summer.

Today, she works as a correctional officer at CRCF; she makes $10,000 more annually than she did as a security officer! And best of all, Cathy works in a profession that offers both advancement and challenge, neither of which were available in her past work.

We are so proud of Cathy’s determination and progress!


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