Building the pipeline from prison to tech

The team at Unloop is building a brighter future for those currently incarcerated by preparing them for careers in tech upon release from prison. They are a diverse team of educators, entrepreneurs, technolgists, and they’ve found a gap to fill in the search for tech talent. Finding and hiring software developers or other roles in tech has not only become increasingly more difficult, but has become more expensive and time consuming for businesses. Unloop has identified the need for finding new potential, and they’ve carved their own path to find it in the prison system: The Unloop Academy. Offering courses within Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) and Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC), Unloop is helping their students become quality candidates for high demand opportunities outside of prison. The program offered by Unloop consists of:
Education — Programs consisting of hands-on learning, coding, and practical use of skills offered inside of prison facilities for those eligible to participate.
Support — Community involvement, a network of advocates and supporters, and a direct connection with employers creates a unique support system.
Opportunity — Connecting students to relationships with community members and employers
The foundation for tech-focused education in prison that Unloop has worked to build comes with a set of unique challenges that must be overcome in order to deliver a successful curriculum. It’s difficult enough to run a successful tech bootcamp, or to teach a new course within the prison system. Doing both is an odyssey of paper, politics, and slow moving parts. Unloop educators have zero or little access to public internet, making the search for answers to coding questions and downloading software dependencies more complicated. The prison system has strict rules against what can and can’t be brought in or out, including the intellectual property of the students, making the relationships that Unloop has with local tech employers extremely valuable. The team at Unloop has built their curriculum from the ground up based on direct feedback and iteration with tech companies, many of which companies have hired graduates or become further involved with the program. In addition to the courses offered, they provide workshops with both students and industry professionals that help provide the critical exposure that they need in order to continue to grow.
Imagine the impact on recidivism that Unloop will make given more employers willing to consider employing or interning a graduate of their program.
You can help support the work that Unloop is doing for our communities by contributing a tax-free donation, or contacting them to get more involved. Visit http://www.un-loop.org for more information.