Aron Roy is Breaking Barriers

Aron Roy’s remarkable journey from the confines of San Quentin State Prison to the dynamic world of technology is a testament to resilience, hope, and the transformative power of opportunity. As a graduate of The Last Mile, a pioneering program at San Quentin that equips incarcerated individuals with technology and professional development education, Aron’s story is not just about personal triumph; it’s about breaking down barriers and changing narratives.

At The Last Mile, Aron was taught the technical skills essential for a career in tech and the soft skills necessary to excel in a collaborative, fast-paced work environment. Being in The Last Mile classroom was a safe space for him to develop his technical skills, but also begin, “the foundation to start [my] transformation…tapping into my technical skills and tapping into my self confidence to change my life.” This foundation paved the way for his subsequent role as a Web Development Education Apprentice at The Last Mile where he further sharpened his skills and demonstrated his potential in the tech industry. Aaron shared of his experience, “I spent just under 10 years in prison; all throughout my twenties. So getting out I was a little bit worried because I didn’t have 10 years of work history. And I think TLM really gave me the foundation, the technical foundation to jump back into the workforce.”

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The real turning point in Aron’s journey came with his involvement in Checkr’s Fair Chance Apprenticeship program. This innovative initiative at Checkr is uniquely designed to provide justice-impacted individuals like Aron with opportunities across a variety of departments, underscoring the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. At Checkr, Aron joined the IT Department, where he quickly proved himself to be an invaluable asset. He was able to take his technical skills, like learning Javascript and logic statements, and link them together with new knowledge he is learning in IT programs and databases.

But Aron’s impact extends far beyond his technical contributions. His role as a mentor and role model within the program is where his true influence lies. By sharing his journey and offering guidance, Aron embodies the spirit of resilience and redemption. He is a living testament to the idea that being formerly incarcerated does not dictate one’s future potential or value. More and more stories like Aron’s lift up the need for expansive fair chance hiring opportunities across all industries. He shares what it was like when he was first hired, “When I was first hired on I said, ‘Thanks for the opportunity, I’m so excited to work here. I really appreciate you giving me the chance’ and they said back to me, ‘You don’t have to thank us.’ They understood that they’re the gatekeepers.” They went on to share that Aron had worked hard to learn the necessary skills and do the work to change his life. They didn’t need to lower their standards to hire Aron, that he had earned the position because he was qualified, showed the capacity to
work hard, learn, and grow. In essence, they were just as appreciative to have him working at Checkr. Aron echoed
the sentiment, sharing, “People just want an opportunity. That’s what the fair chance movement
is about. Nobody is asking for a handout. We’re asking for a fair chance at employment if we are the best candidate.”

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Aron’s story is more than a celebration of his individual achievements. It highlights the profound impact of programs like The Last Mile, and Checkr’s Fair Chance Apprenticeship, which not only believe in creating fair and equitable opportunities, but actively create pathways for them. It’s a narrative that challenges stereotypes about justice-impacted individuals and underscores the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the tech industry.

We applaud Aron’s remarkable journey and achievements, as well as the vision and commitment of programs that understand the power of a fair chance. His story is a reminder that with the right support, determination, and opportunities, extraordinary transformations are within reach.