LaunchCode, a non-profit organization that works with businesses to set up apprenticeships in technology for people who lack the traditional tech credentials, has announced a new program designed to change the trajectory of lives of individuals in prison.
In a collaboration between Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC) and LaunchCode, 17 students participated in MECC’s first JustTech program graduation.
“We’re focused on equipping currently incarcerated folks with the tech skills and workforce skills that they need to be successful upon release,” said Haley Shoaf, Vice President of LaunchCode’s Justice Program in St. Louis.
The program is designed to advance those without traditional credentials, giving them tools to further their education, opening the door to transforming the tech industry, and improving life for inmates once they are rehabilitated into society.
“The ceremony marked the end of our first cohort at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center,” said Shoaf. “And it was just a really important opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the graduates and mark this milestone for all the work they’ve put in.”
Upon release, formerly incarcerated individuals many times face the same joblessness and poverty that they experienced before their sentencing. With more than 33% being unable to find employment after more than four years post-release, this problem affects numerous communities across the U.S.
LaunchCode’s program helps place those individuals in a fast-growing industry with a lot of opportunities, and equips them with marketable skills that can be the difference between finding success and returning behind bars.