An IT pilot program in Dallas is the result of a partnership between nonprofit organization Girls Embracing Mothers and CompTIA, an IT trade association offering tech training certifications. This partnership allows formerly incarcerated women to build a more stable career and tackle poverty. A 2019 report by the Prison Policy Institute highlights that formerly incarcerated people were almost ten times more likely to be homeless than the general population.
Starting from the basics
The pilot offers training programs to formerly incarcerated women, allowing them to learn entry-level IT skills, financial literacy, and soft skills, which are crucial when working in an office environment.
"Listen, I didn't even know how to [turn] the computer on. I had an iPhone that I got when I came home, and I didn't know how to work it. 6 weeks in, we are actually were able to take a computer apart and know what it was. That was exciting." said Patricia Manning, one of the participants of the program.
"There's so much genius behind bars, there's so much untapped potential" - Brittany K. Barnett
Brittany K. Barnett, a Dallas-based lawyer and advocate, founded Girls Embracing Mothers. The nonprofit organization aims to strengthen the relationship between incarcerated mothers and their daughters. Many of these women would love the opportunity to take care of their children and be the mother that they've always wanted to be. Landing a job in the tech industry would help them get a better salary and give them the option to have a job with a 401k, paid time off, and health care coverage.
"That's my priority: my kids, to make a living for them, to make something for them, something that I didn't have," Manning said. "I don't want my kids to have to go through the same thing I had to go through."