2020 Grants Challenge

Fair Chance Tech Apprenticeship Program

We were recently included in a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to facilitate apprenticeships for formerly incarcerated job seekers throughout the nation. As an L.A-based company, we would like to focus part of our program efforts here in L.A. County through creating a model-based system of apprenticeships in positions that pay a living wage and provide a path to escaping poverty. We have partnered with the LA Mayor’s Office of Reentry in the past, as well as 50+ local organizations, and feel a strong connection to our home base.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Pilot project or new program

What is the need you’re responding to?

The formerly incarcerated population has the highest rate of unemployment of any job seeking community at nearly 30%. Additionally, without stable employment, the rate of recidivism is nearly 80% in the first 1-3 years after release. However, when they have a stable job, that percentage flips (less than 20% are re-arrested of the employed population). Employment has been called the “silver bullet” for eradicating recidivism; good jobs for this population means safer neighborhoods, emptier jails and prisons, and positive ripple effects in communities most susceptible to violence.

In the interests of diversity and inclusion, companies are searching for new talent sources to fill millions of open jobs, and the formerly incarcerated candidate pool is a key source of overlooked talent. This apprenticeship program hopes to facilitate implementation of fair chance hiring policies through placing specifically trained and therefore high value candidates in hard-to-fill jobs.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

Since our public launch in 2017 through Silicon Valley’s preeminent tech incubator, Y Combinator, 70 Million Jobs’ community has grown to support more than 11 million formerly incarcerated men and women, and has facilitated employment for thousands, nationwide. We have worked with some of the country’s largest employers, including Berkshire Hathaway, Uber, Perdue, Denny’s, MOD Pizza and many others. Given our connection to and having graduated from Silicon Valley’s preeminent tech incubator, Y Combinator, we are in a unique position to place technically trained candidates with criminal histories in the most difficult to access industry landscapes.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 100

Indirect Impact: 10,000

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

In the last 4 years of facilitating fair chance hiring for corporate employers throughout the nation, we have discovered that once a company successfully hires someone with a criminal background, they will open up 30%-50% more positions to this workforce. If we engage 5 large employers in the area through our apprenticeship program, this could potentially affect the creation of 10,000+ job opportunities opened to the formerly incarcerated population in Los Angeles.

Perhaps less “tangibly,” the effect on families/communities most impacted by the criminal justice system will experience the positive ripple effects of this kind of job creation: reduced recidivism, violence and incarceration costs, and increased positive community role models.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 100

Indirect Impact: 10,000

Which of the CREATE metrics will your submission impact?​

Employment in the tech industries

Income inequality

Economic opportunities for formerly incarcerated

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Host public events or gatherings

Communications support

Strategy assistance and implementation