Technology Training for Former Prisoners

N ext Chapter, a nonprofit incubated through Slack’s philanthropic arm, trains formerly incarcerated people to establish tech careers. The 30 apprentices that the program has trained so far have all received full-time job offers at tech companies, including Dropbox, Square, and Zoom.

With the launch of Rework Reentry, Slack and the Aspen Institute want to make it easier for other companies to follow suit. They plan to produce a “tactical playbook,” sharing the challenges companies could face, along with strategies to overcome them. They also plan to organize events between tech leaders and justice-reform advocates and present several short documentaries about what life is like once an incarcerated person leaves prison.

Next Chapter gets connected with potential apprentices through prison or reentry programming classes. First, participants attend an intensive three-month bootcamp for developers. Upon completion, they’re placed with one of the program’s hiring partners, like Dropbox or Square, to participate with an engineering team working on real projects. The workers receive wages throughout the eight-month initiative.

In what ways can your organization collaborate with others in the community to create similar opportunities for your guests as they make difficult transitions out of poverty and imprisonment?