One of the hardest things for formerly incarcerated men and women to do after release is to find meaningful employment. Google is trying to change that with its Career Readiness for Reentry program.
According to a Google release, the programs will train more than 10,000 formerly incarcerated individuals in digital skills and fundamentals including how to search and apply for a job online, how to make a résumé, and send professional emails. The program will also teach more advanced skills for those who want to run their own business such as spreadsheets and tax program training.
The Career Readiness for Reentry Program will also partner with employment organizations, nonprofits, and religious organizations to assist in the effort. The partners include the Center for Employment Opportunities, Defy Ventures, The Fortune Society, and The Last Mile.
According to Google, more than 600,000 people are released from prison each year in the U.S. However, getting a quality job with the stain of incarceration on their record is difficult, especially when they lack the digital skills necessary to compete.
The unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated individuals is five times higher than the national average. Other factors including systemic racism and a disproportionate recidivism rate make the situation worse for incarcerated Black Americans.
Google’s program builds on its previous criminal justice work and the tech giant’s commitment to improving racial equity by helping Black job seekers improve their digital skills.
Many Americans who are incarcerated are helpless as technology and digital tools change rapidly in today’s world. According to Lifewire, previously incarcerated individuals are significantly hurt by a lack of access to technology during their prison terms.
Some states are trying to change that and provide alternate and cheaper ways for inmates to see their families. Colorado became the first state to give out tablets to inmates as part of a pilot program that will give it 18,000 tablets to public and private prisons across the state.
Inmates will be able to use the tablets anytime between 6 pm and 10 pm in their cells to listen to music, talk to or see family members, read books or play video games. In addition to reducing prison violence, the program also allows prisoners to talk to their families without expensive collect phone calls.