Teach Incarcerated Individuals One of the Most Marketable Skills Today: Code
While America has five percent of the world's population it also holds a disproportionate 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population. It's baffling. Since the 1970s, the United States prison population has grown 700 percent and prison spending for state and federal institutions is nearly $48 billion a year. Efforts have been made to reduce this discouraging increase, but an effective strategy remains to be found to address this daunting problem. Keep that in mind and consider this U.S. labor statistic: It is predicted that there will be a shortfall of 1 million software engineering jobs in 2020. Incarcerated individuals need marketable jobs and our nation needs software engineers.
It's fundamentally groundbreaking. The Last Mile created the first re-entry program that trains incarcerated individuals to become computer programmers and technology business experts—a highly demanded skill set that fills a growing workforce need. Starting in the infamous San Quentin prison in California, The Last Mile drew insights from the neighboring Silicon Valley and formed a process that not only teaches a prisoner how to code but also how to run a professional business. In 2016 the organization launched "TLMWorks," a web development shop inside San Quentin to employ graduates as software engineers.
At The Last Mile, 577 students have been served. Exactly 0 percent of graduates who have re-entered society have returned to prison. TLM graduates represent a broad cross section of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. They are working for tech companies as software engineers, something that seemed unrealistic only a few years ago. TLMWorks in-prison developers also earn $17.88/hour, the highest wage ever paid in a US prison.