create / 2020
Fair Chance Tech Apprenticeship Program
We were recently included in a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to facilitate apprenticeships for formerly incarcerated job seekers throughout the nation. As an L.A-based company, we would like to focus part of our program efforts here in L.A. County through creating a model-based system of apprenticeships in positions that pay a living wage and provide a path to escaping poverty. We have partnered with the LA Mayor’s Office of Reentry in the past, as well as 50+ local organizations, and feel a strong connection to our home base.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- County of Los Angeles
- City of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project?Pilot project or new program
What is the need you’re responding to?
The formerly incarcerated population has the highest rate of unemployment of any job seeking community at nearly 30%. Additionally, without stable employment, the rate of recidivism is nearly 80% in the first 1-3 years after release. However, when they have a stable job, that percentage flips (less than 20% are re-arrested of the employed population). Employment has been called the “silver bullet” for eradicating recidivism; good jobs for this population means safer neighborhoods, emptier jails and prisons, and positive ripple effects in communities most susceptible to violence. In the interests of diversity and inclusion, companies are searching for new talent sources to fill millions of open jobs, and the formerly incarcerated candidate pool is a key source of overlooked talent. This apprenticeship program hopes to facilitate implementation of fair chance hiring policies through placing specifically trained and therefore high value candidates in hard-to-fill jobs.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
Since our public launch in 2017 through Silicon Valley’s preeminent tech incubator, Y Combinator, 70 Million Jobs’ community has grown to support more than 11 million formerly incarcerated men and women, and has facilitated employment for thousands, nationwide. We have worked with some of the country’s largest employers, including Berkshire Hathaway, Uber, Perdue, Denny’s, MOD Pizza and many others. Given our connection to and having graduated from Silicon Valley’s preeminent tech incubator, Y Combinator, we are in a unique position to place technically trained candidates with criminal histories in the most difficult to access industry landscapes.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
In the last 4 years of facilitating fair chance hiring for corporate employers throughout the nation, we have discovered that once a company successfully hires someone with a criminal background, they will open up 30%-50% more positions to this workforce. If we engage 5 large employers in the area through our apprenticeship program, this could potentially affect the creation of 10,000+ job opportunities opened to the formerly incarcerated population in Los Angeles. Perhaps less “tangibly,” the effect on families/communities most impacted by the criminal justice system will experience the positive ripple effects of this kind of job creation: reduced recidivism, violence and incarceration costs, and increased positive community role models.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
Through our Federal DOL grant, we’re tasked with creating approximately 500 apprenticeship opportunities. Through the LA2050 partnership, we would collaborate with the LA2050 team to evaluate opportunities for new apprenticeship programs in Los Angeles County, and create approximately 50-100 apprenticeship opportunities over the next year in the following industries: IT and cyber security related occupations (35-70), skilled worker occupations (10-20), and supervisory/management roles (5-10). Our focus is on positions that pay a living wage and provide a path to escaping poverty.
Our long-term vision of success would be to share our experience and potential apprenticeship model-based programs with other industry employers in the area, along with the heretofore unavailable but also invaluable data regarding employment outcomes for this at-risk population (what kind of jobs are best, how much are they being paid, percentage of employment advancement, wage history, retention rates, etc.); to provide subject matter experts (SMEs) when requested to inform industry-aligned curriculum development and/or modification; and to participate on state and national conference panels to show the positive impact of the apprenticeship model, Fair Chance Hiring, and encourage industry partners to adopt the program.
Which of the create metrics will your submission impact?
- Employment in the tech industries
- Income inequality
- Economic opportunities for formerly incarcerated
Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?
- Access to the LA2050 community
- Host public events or gatherings
- Communications support
- Strategy assistance and implementation