Today’s online shout-out goes to Shawnee Lorimore. Shawnee works for the Department of Corrections as a culinary instructor at Trinidad Correctional Facility.
“I’m really popular because I feed everybody,” Shawnee joked recently.
At the end of the day, Shawnee is preparing much more than food, though. She’s teaching vital life and jobs skills that help reduce criminal recidivism by enabling offenders become more successful and productive members of the community.
“She brings out the best in these guys and she brings out the best in all of us,” Shawnee’s colleague Pauline Boyd explained.
A Colorado State Employee Making a Difference
Trinidad is not the state’s largest correctional facility. Nonetheless, Shawnee’s program had some of the highest culinary program completions in Colorado’s Department of Corrections.
Shawnee’s impact isn’t just a question of numbers either.
Once, a long-absent father preparing to be paroled wanted Shawnee to teach him to cook for his family. He’d been incarcerated for much of his children’s lives and was going to be a single father.
“He wanted to be able to establish a home — and food had always been at the center of his family,” Shawnee remembered. “Those moments are priceless.”
Proud to Serve Colorado
For people like Shawnee, working for the state is more than just a job:
“I am so proud to be an employee of the state and work for the Department of Corrections,” Shawnee said. “Working for DOC isn’t a glamorous job, but I am so proud of what I do.”
Shawnee is just one of nearly 29,000 state employees in Colorado, dedicated workers who provide vital public services every hour of the day and every day of the year. The Department of Corrections alone helped 1,110 people complete programs to promote successful community reintegration and reduce criminal recidivism.
Join the Union
Despite the contributions of hardworking people like Shawnee, state employee pay has lagged even as the cost of housing, healthcare and other essentials has skyrocketed in the state.
As a result, the Department of Corrections and other agencies and departments face increasing staff turnover and chronic understaffing that undermine public employees and the services we provide.
|State employees are stronger when we stand together. Please join Colorado WINS and help advocate for workers like Shawnee — and you.