ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Russell Sage College announced a new initiative to tackle workforce shortages in the criminal justice system.

The Community Corrections Workforce Development Initiative offers an online masters program in criminal justice and community corrections at a discounted rate to Albany County employees to help boost workers in the field. The increased demand for criminal justice workers follows a new focus on shorter prison sentences, serving time through probation and seeking alternatives to incarceration.

“Higher education is called to respond to workforce needs and changes so with our focus on community corrections, that is alternatives to incarceration, our entirely online masters degree is the first such program in the country,” Christopher Ames, President of Russell Sage College, said.

The initiative also includes free training sessions for professionals in criminal justice, focusing on self-care, trauma-informed care and suicide prevention.