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Sun Country Trailer, Phoenix, AZ


Challenge: In early 2014 management wanted to expand their production facility as orders for their custom trailers were climbing in Arizona. But they could not find qualified people to work in their south Phoenix facility.

Solution: The Labor Partnership team knew there were some skilled inmates available in the ASPC Lewis prison comples in Budkeye, AZ, and did a quick study to see if they could put together a crew of 8 men with the qualities Sun Country's management needed. Surprisingly, they found dozens of welders who were interested in taking the van drive to work with Sun Country. Management quickly learned just how good these inmate workers were and asked if they could increase their inmate crew. Over the years the program grew and, when Sun Country merged with a national custom trailer manufacturer they were asked to make trailers for sale outside of Arizona. 

This possed a bit of a problem because by law ACI inmates are prohibitted from manufacturing products sold outside Arizona. The first solution as to clearly markt each trailer as instate or out of state and only allow inmates to work on the former. But then, Sun Country management decided that it made more sense to switch to a PIE program allowing the inmates to earn wages on a par with their civilian colleagues and also allowsSun Country to sell the all their trailers outside of Arizona. This was ACI's second PIE program and it was working very well until the Covid crisis with 27 inmates working onsite at Sun Country Trailers facilities each day (on average) and learning many technical skills, like welding and powder coating that they will be able to use after their release.There are currently 4 ex-offenders working at Sun Country Trailer