- "Talent is evenly distributed among the population, but opportunity is not," Coding Dojo Richard Wang said in a statement. "Giving a second chance and providing a path to economic opportunity for underserved communities is core to our mission, and we look forward to continually expanding how we give back to our communities."
- Participants will receive hardware and a living stipend — and with a full-ride scholarship, tuition coverage — for the program. Alumni will apply to Microsoft’s 16-week LEAP apprenticeship, and Coding Dojo career services managers and PSF partners will help program alumni with their job search if they’re not accepted.
Considering PSF’s mission of employment assistance to reduce recidivism and Coding Dojo’s workforce-minded pedagogy, partnerships like this one are much-needed. Comparative prison analysis, like that of Pew Research Center and the Prison Policy Initiative, shows that the U.S. incarcerates a higher share of its population than any other country.
As of 2020, approximately 2,148,000 people are in U.S. federal prisons and jails, state prisons, and local jails. Considering the ways formerly incarcerated people can outperform peers without records, HR professionals may be missing out on key talent due to bias.
Employment assistance initiatives like this one can help smooth out an individual’s return to the workforce by teaching them new skills and building up their competitive advantage. It can also reduce recidivism. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 67.8% of released state prisoners on average were arrested again within three years and 76.7% were arrested again within five years.
From a diversity and inclusion perspective, employment assistance programs like this one are important because a disproportionate number of incarcerated people are people of color — particularly Black people. Partnerships like this one can ensure more people of color get a seat at the table.