ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — People on probation in Albany County will have the opportunity to work on getting their high school equivalency diploma with a new program. It will be offered through a partnership with the County Probation Department, Capital Region BOCES, Capital District EOC & SUNY Aimed at Criminal Justice & Crime Reduction and officially begins on January 5.

Fifteen workstations with internet access will be available to program participants at the Capital District Education Opportunity Center. It will be staffed by a certified teacher and program coordinator.

The county said currently 24% of the 307 people on probation with the county do not have a high school diploma and would be eligible for the program. They are hoping this program will help put diplomas into the hands of probationers and help them earn more money in the future.

“This program, the first of its kind that enlists BOCES, will help to break the cycle of those involved in the criminal justice system who are trapped in low-paying jobs and struggling to get their lives back on track, and ultimately prevent future crime,” said County Executive, Dan McCoy.

Participants will be committed from three months to a year to the program, depending on their education level. They will also be required to put in between 10-12 hours a week. McCoy said they have 105 people on probation already interested in the program.

“Many probationers find their court-mandated employment unsatisfying, so we wanted to create a system that provides greater opportunities for stable and reliable employment, which can often come from education, said Albany County Probation Department Director, Bill Connors. “This can deter individuals from negative choices and reduce their chances of recidivism.”