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Slack to Bring Tech Career Paths to the Formerly Incarcerated

The new campaign will help bring engineering apprenticeships created by Slack to companies across the country.

Image of tech workers working together.
Sovann Boyd

Sovann Boyd

Digital Marketing Specialist @ ApprentiScope

Slack the workplace messaging software company and nonprofit Aspen Institute have recently announced a new partnership that comes through their Rework Reentry program that will work to help formerly incarcerated individuals create pathways to careers within the technology sector. The new campaign will help bring engineering apprenticeships created by Slack to companies across the country. 

This new collaboration will also work to address some of the systemic barriers that prevent returning citizens from securing skilled, high-paying jobs and promotes widespread adoption of proven employment models like apprenticeships across the nation. Through comprehensive research, direct engagement with key stakeholders, and documentary storytelling, Rework Reentry aims to expand career opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals while driving broader cultural change.



"Society places significant barriers in front of formerly incarcerated individuals, especially when it comes to securing stable, gainful employment. It’s exciting that Next Chapter and Slack for Good have pioneered a new approach to addressing this critical issue, starting in the tech sector, and the Aspen Institute is honored to collaborate on this initiative."

Dan Porterfield, President, and CEO of the Aspen Institute



According to studies around two million people are incarcerated in the United States today. Of those 95% of them are expected to be released. Upon release, formerly incarcerated people are often limited to low-paying jobs with little opportunity for long-term career advancement. Research has found that that a lack of stable employment drastically increases the likelihood that an individual will return to jail or prison, making joblessness a leading predictor of recidivism. This vicious cycle of release and poverty hurts everyone, including re-entering individuals, their families and communities, employers and taxpayers.

Next Chapter was established in 2018 by Slack and its non-profit partners The Last Mile, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and FREEAMERICA to help break this repetitive cycle by creating alternative pathways for formerly incarcerated individuals to receive skilled, high-paying jobs in tech. Individuals who are selected for the eight-month program enroll in a paid software engineering immersion program and complete an apprenticeship at one of Next Chapter’s hiring partners.

Apprentices receive professional and technical mentorship as well as individualized reentry services, while hiring partners are counseled on how to create a more equitable and supportive workplace for those returning home from prison. After an initial pilot at Slack, Next Chapter has since expanded to 14 hiring partners with three cohorts of apprentices including more than 30 individuals total have successfully graduated from the program. Upon their graduation every apprentice has received a full-time employment offer after completing their apprenticeship.

 

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