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Silicon Valley Project Gives San Quentin Inmates A Chance At Tech Jobs

SAN QUENTIN (KCBS) — A Silicon Valley project named The Last Mile sets up volunteers with San Quentin State Prison inmates to prepare them for tech jobs once they are released.

While the goal is to take prisoners from bars to dot-com jobs, not just any inmate can participate.

Tech entrepreneur Chris Redlitz, who co-founded the program, explained the inmates have to sign a lifetime oath.

"When they're selected they have to sign an oath that they'll be supportive of their fellow classmates and brothers inside, but also when they get out that they'll carry on that relationship for the rest of their lives," he said.

The six-month course includes twice a week evening lessons and a lot of hard work, as inmates learn about what it takes to launch a tech company.

Silicon Valley Project Gives San Quentin Inmates A Chance At Tech Jobs

The process can be especially challenging behind bars since the participants are not allowed to use the Internet.

But Redlitz said the inmates that join are highly motivated to succeed.

"I was frankly shocked at how quickly they could assimilate the information and how fluid the presentations were at the end. I mean they go through a huge transformation during that time," he said.

Redlitz said the program has produced six graduates so far and several have been hired to full-time positions.

"One of the comments that we get back from the CEOs of the companies is basically saying that these guys are so enthusiastic, their work ethics are so strong that they actually make an immediate impact on the people in the business," he said.

The Last Mile project is now being expanded to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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