Scott Marquardt: A Heartfelt Look Back at 2020 and an Optimistic Look at 2021

A message from MTC President Scott Marquardt.

Season’s greetings. As possibly the craziest year in our lives comes to a close, I wanted to reach out to you and say thanks. In addition to a global pandemic, we saw a dramatic downturn in the economy, civil unrest, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and another crazy election. All of us were personally touched by one or more of these events.

Despite the anguish that 2020 brought, there is still a lot to be thankful for. And with a vaccine close to wide distribution, there is a lot of optimism for a better 2021.

At work, MTC employees did a great job wearing our masks. We learned what social distancing was and experienced isolation and quarantines. We washed our hands a lot and tried to keep our hands away from our faces. While it was impossible to stop the outbreaks in our communities from impacting our facilities, we did a good job responding and getting outbreaks beaten back as quickly as possible.

The BIONIC spirit made a bad situation bearable to our clients—offenders and detainees. They had visitation cut back, movement limited, programs stopped, and recreation done within new social-distancing requirements. We could have had an unhappy response, but we spent time explaining what was happening, why it was necessary and asked for their support. They pitched in and did everything they could to help us stop the spread. And it worked. And we are all safer because of it.

Job Corps students were all sent home when the pandemic began. With little preparation, we continued the program through distance learning. Now students are beginning to return to centers, and we are much better prepared to continue the program through blended learning, using both traditional classroom instruction and new remote learning through technology. Job Corps will be much stronger going forward because of it.

Change brings frustration and anxiety. We had our share of that. But MTC is a resilient organization, built on the resilience of our employees. You faced the challenges we confronted head-on and built a stronger organization because of it.

We hope in the coming year economies turn around, that sickness lessens, that we learn to respect the differences we each bring, and our government begins to bring people together rather than capitalizing on the extremes of each end of the political spectrum. I’m optimistic that will happen.

President-Elect Biden has questioned United States policies on criminal justice and has called for immigration reform. And he has questioned the role of private companies in operating prisons and detention centers. Populations in prisons and detention centers across the country are already down significantly. That alone will lessen the need for some of the prisons and detention centers, and MTC will likely see that impact. Some of that downturn in populations is likely temporary, caused largely by a response to COVID. But hopefully, some of the downturn is represented by the successes in meeting the needs of these populations. That is our goal.

But as long as the United States has a strong vibrant economy while our neighbors near and far suffer from failing economies, corrupt governments, rampant crime, and a lack of opportunity, people will continue to migrate to the United States in large numbers. And as long as the education system in our country isn’t preparing youth for the opportunities of tomorrow, there will need to be programs to reach out and provide those opportunities for thousands more. And as long as our social welfare system and economy fail too many who can’t find a good job, aren’t getting a fair shake, or are the victims of systemic racism, people are going to continue to end up in the criminal justice system.

MTC will continue to believe in every person’s ability to learn, to work, and to succeed. And we will continue to offer innovative programs that work where other programs have failed and prove it can be done. In every part of our business, we create cultures very different from what our clients have seen elsewhere. Our culture is built on caring, respect, new expectations, support and determination. The opportunities we have to demonstrate that success will change in the future, but we will continue to have a very bright future. We will continue to grow as a company.

It’s each of you coming to work every day with a commitment to help those whom we serve, that makes MTC successful. We have many opportunities for growth in front of us and are already working hard to pursue them.

Thank you for your commitment to our success. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for building new futures for those who had little faith in their own. We have a lot to be thankful for this year. I’m thankful we have the opportunity to make such an enormous social impact in tens of thousands of lives every year.