From Locked Up to Startups: Inmates Find a Future
Imagine trying to bring entrepreneurship education and technology training to one of the world’s most challenging environments, where residents can’t use the Internet: San Quentin Prison in California.
Chris Redlitz, co-founder of The Last Mile mentoring program, moderates this panel discussion featuring program graduates Heracio Harts and Kenyatta Leal along with startup founders Duncan Logan (RocketSpace) and Tom Serres (Rally.org). They'll discuss how commitment and entrepreneurial thinking can support individuals as they transition from prison to living productive lives in society.
The Last Mile prepares participants for eventual employment in a paid internship within the Silicon Valley technology sector. The program teaches participants the role of social media, builds their communications, and fosters confidence that they can succeed as free men running businesses dedicated to a social cause.
The Last Mile hopes that through entrepreneurship, it can prepare convicts for meaningful employment and reduce recidivism.
Additional Supporting Materials
- How does The Last Mile help inmates at San Quentin? Discuss the process of applying for the program and being mentored by Silicon Valley luminaries. Did you feel the program would actually "work?"
- Explain what's it like to get out of a maximum-security prison and know that you have a sought-after job in technology waiting for you. What do you think you'd be doing if not for the Last Mile program?
- How did you adjust to working at a technology company when you haven't been able to access the Internet for nearly a decade? How has technology changed the way you now see the world?
- For the company founders: Explain the criteria for hiring the Last Mile grads. Did you have any reservations about bringing on a formerly incarcerated individual to intern at your company?
- Do you believe that the Last Mile program is scalable? Could this program go beyond San Quentin? What are your plans for expanding the curriculum that you offer to inmates?
- Heracio "Ray" Harts Rally.org
- Tom Serres Rally.org
- Kenyatta Leal RocketSpace
- Chris Redlitz TransMedia Capital
David Cirilli Rally.org
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