By Jordan Beach 

Reinhardt University signed a partnership agreement with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice to offer staff members educational opportunities.

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The agreement, signed in May, offers Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice staff the opportunity to enroll in a number of programs, including the Executive Command and Leadership program.

"Reinhardt University is honored to connect with our community to provide quality education for those who wish to continue learning and further their careers. We look forward to partnering with Georgia's Department of Juvenile Justice and educating individuals that are committed public servants with a shared understanding of the value of education," said Dr. Mark Roberts, acting president and provost.

DJJ Chief of Staff Mark Mitchell is familiar with the University, as he previously served as an adjunct instructor.

“As a former adjunct instructor with Reinhardt, I know the institution provides a solid educational foundation in many areas of higher learning to specifically include the career field of criminal justice,” said Mitchell. “Many of our valued members seek bachelor’s and master's degrees in criminal justice and our partnership will provide good opportunities for those who strive to make a difference in this very noble profession.”

The Executive Command and Leadership Program (ExCL) includes command level Peace Officer Standards and Training credits and a Master of Public Administration. The partnership also connects DJJ staff to criminal justice and business administration undergraduate degrees, along with the Organizational Management and Leadership program.

Both Reinhardt University and the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice will offer scholarships, and the ExCL program will be offered at a reduced tuition. With this increased opportunity to pursue education in criminal justice, Mitchell believes the partnership will prove beneficial in several ways.

“The partnership with Reinhardt means a lot to our organization. We strongly feel this wonderful opportunity and relationship will not only boost the morale of those seeking higher education but will also be used as a very important tool to recognize personnel who work hard in our academics to achieve a high level of academic success.”

Director of Professional Development and Standards Latera Davis hopes the partnership will offer professional growth and development to department’s staff.

“Not only are we recognizing the achievements of the honor graduates, but through the partnership, staff will have continued opportunities to enhance their skills and abilities to become more sought-after professionals,” said Davis. “Overall, the partnership will benefit the students through educational enrichment, self-growth, especially skilled and trained workforce, incentives to support professional development and create opportunities for career development.”

This partnership will serve to continue the growth and outreach of Reinhardt University into the community, especially within the criminal justice programs.

“The men and women of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice lead a life of sacrifice behind the scenes. They work tirelessly to equip some of Georgia’s most vulnerable youth with the ability to live responsible and productive lives,” said Trey Drawdy, dean for the School of Professional Studies, Criminal Justice program coordinator and Police Academy director. “For the last decade our mission has been to provide responsive academic programs that meet the training and educational needs of public safety professionals. Under Commissioner Oliver’s leadership, the department has embraced a culture of ongoing personal growth, intellectual development, innovation and leadership. Reinhardt is proud to create an educational pathway for these unsung public safety professionals.”