An inmate occupational training program launched by successful tech entrepreneurs at California’s San Quentin State Prison has expanded, and a new session began this month in the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles, reports the Associated Press. Graduates released from the penal system are landing jobs at dot-coms. The rigorous, six-month training teaches carefully selected inmates about designing and launching technology firms, using local experts as volunteer instructors.
The program was founded by Beverly Parenti and her husband, Chris Redlitz, who were Silicon Valley pioneers in the 1990s. They tap high-level connections to help with the prison program. Redlitz said they started the program after he was invited into San Quentin in 2011 for a guest lecture and was overwhelmed by the inmates’ desire to learn. The program is small, with just 12 graduates in its first two years and a few dozen in classes in San Quentin and Twin Towers. But the five graduates released so far are working in the tech sector.