VICE has teamed up with the Center for Employment Opportunities to launch a six-month paid apprenticeship program for individuals with criminal records.
It’s long been known that job hunting after serving time is incredibly difficult ― 60 to 75 percent of ex-offenders are jobless after a year. And joblessness is one of the key factors in recidivism.
The Center for Employment Opportunities is a nonprofit that provides career opportunities for the formerly incarcerated.
In conjunction with Vice, as of early 2017, five former inmates will be welcome to apply for opportunities in “Brooklyn across our digital channels, in the newsroom, in television and film production, and in other creative roles,” according to a staff letter published on Vice.com
“Our aim is to help provide those with little to no college or workforce experience with the tools and skills needed to succeed in the media industry,” the letter says.
Apprentices accepted into the program will work for six months, 40 hours per week for $15 an hour. Eligible applicants are people aged 18 to 25, living in New York City. They can be on probation or parole. Vice would not say how much money in total is being committed to the program, according to the Associated Press.
The addition of this program comes after their launch of a series called The Future of Incarceration, which explores the country’s “approach to jails and prisons.”
“We hope it will give those looking to succeed a chance at life outside the system,” the staff letter says.
Vice CEO Shane Smith acknowledged to the Associated Press that the apprentice program is a small step toward taking on the high recidivism rate among former inmates, but said he wants to “alleviate some of these issues by putting our money where our mouth is.”