Justice-Impacted Advocates, Technology Executives Gather for Post-Incarceration Employment Hackathon

Earlier this month, more than 200 justice-impacted advocates, government officials, and technology leaders met in Washington, DC, for a post-incarceration employment hackathon. The nationally acclaimed non-profit Mission:Launch hosted the two-day solutions-driven event at the Walter Washington Convention Center. Teresa Hodge, the organization’s founder and CEO organized the gathering, which included federal, state, and local government policymakers from the U.S. Department of Labor, DC Department of Employment Services, and various state workforce development officials from across the country.

Aventiv Technologies, the leading provider of prison communications technology, co-sponsored the hackathon along with What’s Next Washington. D.C. City Councilman Kenyan McDuffie delivered remarks on the importance of greater public and private sector collaboration in support of the formerly incarcerated and justice-impacted families. Tech investors Ollen Douglass of Motley Fool Ventures and Lloyd Trotter of GenNx360 participated in a panel discussion to outline what attracts venture capitalists and investment bankers committed to tech solutions, like the background check screening company R3Score.

Since 2017, April has been recognized as “Second Chance Hiring Month,” which is intended to raise awareness from Capitol Hill to Main Street of the need for more innovative public policy, collaborative partnerships, and technology to meet the reentry challenges formerly incarcerated individuals face in the United States.

“Hackathons are invaluable platforms to bring together those focused on innovative solutions, not just redefining the problem,” said Mission:Launch CEO Teresa Hodge. “Data has shown by 2030, 1-in-2 working aged adults will have an arrest or conviction record. If we as a nation expect to remain a global economic superpower, we must identify and create greater, more effective employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for those who are justice impacted.”

The Washington, DC, hackathon is the second in a series sponsored by Aventiv. In December 2022, Mission:Launch partnered with Aventiv and local workforce development agencies for a similar event in Wilmington, Delaware. Planning for hackathons in Phoenix and Seattle is currently underway.

“It’s important for Aventiv to be working in, listening to, and learning from justice-impacted communities as we iterate on the growing role of technology to accelerate solutions for reentry. We believe that the work of successful reentry begins at the date of entry, not the day of release, and we want to help drive innovation in this space,” said Margita Thompson, Chief Communications and Community Engagement Officer at Aventiv Technologies.

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