The non-profit organization Jason’s Heart in Lincoln offers, among other things, paid computer and media apprenticeships for people with criminal records.
This way, people can learn important skills, and the model is designed to help them get full-time jobs in the tech industry later on.
Lesa Bulin is one of the first participants in the program. She talks openly about her past – she says she spent time behind bars, but it changed her life. She graduated from Southeast Community College this year, but the job market, Bulin says, is tough to tap into.
“I was convicted of a drug offence,” Bulin said. “And so, even though I had an overwhelming degree, I couldn’t even convince an employer to talk to me.”
Both have a criminal record, but also a passion for the profession.
Earlier this year, Bulin saw a story on 10/11 Now about Jason’s Heart offering apprenticeships and signed up soon after. Bulin and Micha Ketcham, the other participant in the program, are four months into their one-year apprenticeship.
“From a young age, I always tried to think of a reason why I needed to use the computer,” Ketcham said.
In addition to learning skills, mentors take Ketcham and Bulin out into the field, where they work with clients. In doing so, they hopefully prepare them for a career after graduation.
“They’re entering the workforce, they’re generating taxes,” said the nonprofit’s Matt Fuller. “They know they’re doing all of this, and it’s what we need, and with a huge labor shortage.” “I went to rehab,” Bulin said. “And so that I can go back and see the people who helped me get to where I am now. The person who saw me at my lowest now sees me at my highest.
The program is not only for ex-offenders, but also for veterans and people with low to middle incomes. From next Saturday you can apply for winter training, and next month there will be an open day on November 18 to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Apprenticeship Act.
Summary of news:
- Non-profit organization that provides technical skills to incarcerated people
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