Incarcerated Individuals Receive Apprenticeships and Job Certifications at San Quentin State Prison

SAN QUENTIN, CA (March 11,2024) –  On March 7, the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) in partnership with nonprofit  The Last Mile (TLM)  and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) celebrated 53 students who earned nationally recognized job certifications and/or apprenticeships at San Quentin State Prison. Forty-five of those students completed TLM and CALPIA’s Computer Coding and Digital Audio Production Programs. The other graduating students completed   the Pre-Apprentice Construction Labor program. “Congratulations!  You are each here because you have accomplished something great,” said CALPIA’s General Manager Bill Davidson.  “You made a decision to start on a certain path and you have shown the ability to follow through and succeed.  I encourage you to look at what you are learning today as the beginning of a successful career.” The industry accredited certifications qualify incarcerated individuals for meaningful employment when returning to their communities. 

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At the ceremony, the graduates were inspired by the words of successful TLM alum Chris Schuhmacher, who was a member of TLM’s first graduating computer coding class at San Quentin ten years ago. “Like you, I questioned whether my skills would ever find use outside prison walls and whether employers would be willing to look past my history,” he recalled. “I hit the ground running after my release in 2017. It is my sincere belief that you will replicate this success and climb even higher.” Schuhmacher is now a Software Engineer at Checkr, where he says his lived experiences aid in building products that enhance transparency in background checks. 

TLM-trained returned citizens have an employment rate of 75%, and a recidivism rate of 4.5%, not including parole violations. 

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Read more at the San Francisco Examiner.