Construction Apprenticeship Program (CAP)

Men at work wearing green hard hatsThe Construction Apprenticeship Program (CAP) consists of highly trained Mentors -- dedicated state employees -- who train and teach offenders daily to become journey-level construction workers. These CAP Mentors routinely training as many as 600 offenders at different project sites.

CAP History

North Carolina has a long history of offenders working on public construction projects. In 1870, offenders began construction of the State Penitentiary in Raleigh. The castle-like structure, which later became known as Central Prison, was completed in December 1884.

Working under the direction of the penitentiary warden, Col. William J. Hicks, offenders completed the state's third governor's residence in 1891. The Executive Mansion in downtown Raleigh is still home to North Carolina's governor and remains one of the state's finest examples of the Queen Anne style of Victorian architecture.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, offender labor helped build North Carolina railroads and highways, leading to the state's nickname as the "Good Roads State."

Today's modern Construction Apprenticeship Program (CAP) began in 1993 and follows this proud tradition of putting offenders to work, teaching valuable skills and saving the state millions of dollars annually.

Journeyman patch

The Apprenticeship Program

More than 200 offenders are enrolled in the CAP program, allowing them to participate in an apprenticeships certified by the N.C. Department of Labor. Offenders work toward journeyman's certificates in various construction trades. Many graduates of the program are successfully employed in the construction industry. A few have started their own contracting businesses after their release.

Offenders involved in the apprenticeship program spend 480 hours in classroom learning and complete more than 6,000 hours of on-the-job training before they receive their journeyman's certification. Some offenders have earned journeyman's certification in two or more trades.

Since 1993, CAP has completed many projects including the following:

Rockingham Youth Development Center

Rockingham YDC Rendering

Approximately 100 offenders and a team of CAP Mentors are building a $20-plus million, 46,000-square foot Youth Development Center in Rockingham County. This site enables the Department of Public Safety to meet the needs of Raise the Age with a state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility for youth.

Learn more about the Rockingham Youth Development Center here. 


Dan River Prison Work Farm under constructionDan River Prison Work Farm - Main dormitory

In 1994, Central Engineering staff began working with prison managers to select offenders to participate in the Construction Apprenticeship Program. The first project was the Dan River Prison Work Farm, a minimum security prison in Yanceyville. Minimum security offenders erected fencing and guard towers around the site, and medium security offenders were put to work on the construction crews. 

Tyrrell Prison Work Farm - Main dormitory

As work neared completion at the Dan River Prison Work Farm , another CAP project began in Tyrrell County. The new prison being built near Columbia was a prison work farm similar in construction to Dan River's unit. Some offender workers moved from Dan River to Tyrrell to continue using their construction skills. Construction started in 1996.

Apex Staff Training centerApex Staff Training Center and Warehouse

CAP completed demolition and renovation of an existing building in Apex. The building now houses offices for both the Office of Staff and Development Training and the Central Pharmacy. The existing building was an old manufacturing facility, which was completely gutted except for the four outside walls, floor and part of the roof. The new facility was completed in July 2000 and is more than 55,000 square feet. Prior to completing this building, a 52,900 square foot commodity storage warehouse for Correction Enterprises was renovated and finished in March 2000 at the same location. The total renovation cost for both buildings was approximately $6.7 million. More than 150 offenders were used in the renovation and construction process under the direction of Central Engineering construction Mentors.

208-bed dorm at NCCIW208-bed dorm at N.C. Correctional Institution for Women

CAP completed a 208-bed dormitory at the N.C. Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh in August 2001. Groundwork on the $4.4 million dormitory addition was started in February of 2000. Approximately 85 offenders under direction of Central Engineering construction Mentors were used in the construction of the 33,000 square-foot dormitory.

Columbus Tailoring Plant 

With the help of 52 offenders, the Correction Enterprises sewing plant was built behind Columbus Correctional Institution in 1999. After the footings and columns were in place, a contractor assembled the steel trusses at the construction site. Two large cranes hoisted the steel girders into place. The girders were 136 feet across from one edge of the building to the other. The CAP Mentors prepared the plumbing and electrical work, and poured the flooring. 

Samarcand Training Academy Dining Hall 

The 7,500-square foot building can seat 180 students, guests and visitors. The facility offers greatly

Samarcand Dining Hall

expanded space and amenities compared to the smaller cafeteria it replaced. Groundbreaking began in February 2018 and was completed by CAP at a cost of $2.7 million.

The new dining hall replaced the smaller Mitchell Cafeteria, which required two dining periods to accommodate all students on campus. The dining hall offers a more robust meal menu and schedule, and four separate dining options are available to students. The meal selections provide healthier food choices, as well as options for those with food allergies and dietary restrictions.

Other Projects:

Additions to Warren Correctional Institution
Warren Janitorial Products Plant
504 and 252 bed additions to 1,000 cell prison facilities