ATLANTA — Arke, an Atlanta-based brand experience consultancy, is partnering with a local nonprofit startup to teach women in Georgia’s prisons about coding.
Arke is working with Code/Out, a Decatur, Georgia organization that aims to teach incarcerated women how to code to prepare them for careers in technology.
The program has several goals, said Arke Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Technology Officer Chris Spears. One is to reduce recidivism. The other is to improve the lives of former inmates and their children.
“This alliance is a win-win for Georgia’s prison system, women in prison and the broader professional tech services community,” said Spears, a member of Code/Out’s executive board.
Code/Out is recruiting other tech organizations into a coalition. It hopes to ensure pathways to employment for those who complete the Code/Out program.
Spears said he’s confident other technology companies will support the effort.
‘Willing and Capable’ Women
Code/Out received a grant of 10 laptop computers from Microsoft. This hardware enables the program to go into Georgia’s institutions to teach with minimal reliance on the state or its resources, noted Hannah Hill, executive director at Code/Out.
“Most of these women in prison are willing and capable individuals. They just need the right education and opportunity to do something different,” Hill said.
She noted that job opportunities in the technology field in the United States are more than double the national average. In Atlanta alone, there was an increase of 7.7 percent in the technology industry in 2015 or 5,240 new jobs.
There’s never been a better time for this initiative, she said.
Code/Out Executive on National News
Classes could begin as early as the last week this month at the Metro Transitional Center in south Atlanta.
Hill was interviewed yesterday by Michaela Pereira on HLN, a national news network. “We’re so thankful for an amazing community, board members and hiring partner Arke that is making this all possible,” she said.
Arke is committed to being a great corporate citizen and supporting the communities where we live and work. We view social responsibility not as an obligation, but as a privilege and an opportunity to build trust with our communities, employees, and customers.