OCONEE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Keenan Davis is studying to earn his Certified Production Technical Certification.

“We’ve been learning safety and different types of practices to use in industrial and manufacturing,” Davis said.

Davis served two and a half years in the Oconee County Detention Center and was released in April. He is now one of seven students participating in the “Life After Lock-Up” program.

“It’s just been a blessing to have been given the opportunity to get myself back on the right path,” Davis said.

The class is made up of former and current state correctional inmates from the Oconee County Detention Center. They meet twice a week at the sheriff’s office to take online classes that are taught by staff from Tri-County Technical College. Once the students complete the program, they will earn their certification.

“Being in a group is a great asset because everyone is kind of like minded,” Davis explained. “Everybody wants to succeed. Everybody wants others to do the same.”

“They’re going to be leaving here with some important skills and training that will enable them to be able to get a good job, have a good career and have some skills that employers are now looking for,” Master Deputy Jimmy Watt added.

The program is being funded by a grant from the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. It is the first program of its kind at the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s about life transformation and success for those who are now going to be leaving the prison system and getting back into society,” Watt said.

For Davis, it is not only an opportunity to find a job, it is the start of a new life.

“Given an opportunity and a chance, we can be productive members of society,” Davis said. “A lot of times, that’s all we really need – a chance or opportunity.”