Challenge: In 2014, Sun Country management wanted to expand their production facility but could not find qualified people to work in their Phoenix facility.
Solution: The Labor Partnership team identified skilled inmates in the ASPC Lewis prison complex in Buckeye, AZ, and did a quick study to see if they could form a crew of eight men to fulfill Sun Country's requirements. Dozens of welders were interested in working at Sun Country's facility. Sun Country management quickly learned the value of these inmate workers and their inmate workforce substantially grew.
Sun Country merged with a national custom trailer manufacturer and were asked to make trailers for sale outside of Arizona. This posed a problem since ACI inmates are prohibited from manufacturing products sold outside of Arizona. The first solution was to clearly market each trailer as instate or out of state and only allow inmates to work on the instate trailers. Sun Country management decided it made more sense to switch to a PIE program, allowing the inmates to earn wages on par with their civilian colleagues and permits Sun Country to sell their trailers outside of Arizona. This was ACI's second PIE program. 27 inmates work on-site at Sun Country Trailers facilities, learning many valuable technical skills (welding, powder coating, etc.). There are currently 4 ex-offenders working at Sun Country Trailers.