Editor’s be aware: Today’s submit comes from Charles Hoke, Chief Development Officer of Defy Ventures, a nonprofit that helps present and previously incarcerated individuals in 25 U.S. correctional services launch new careers. Defy Ventures makes use of Chromebooks, G Suite and Pixel telephones to assist individuals with legal histories find out about entrepreneurship and analysis enterprise alternatives.

The prospects for work are bleak for incarcerated individuals, even after they’re launched from jail. Research from the American Civil Liberties Union exhibits that 65 p.c of previously incarcerated people are nonetheless unemployed one yr after their launch. But they’ve the expertise to make their manner within the outdoors world, legitimately—what we name “reworking the hustle.” At Defy Ventures, we assist these Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs) make a brand new begin for themselves by beginning their very own companies. We work with them whereas they’re in jail, and proceed to assist after their launch.

To assist EITs develop their enterprise expertise, we join them with expertise to allow them to search on-line for enterprise alternatives, watch coaching movies and talk with mentors. Chromebooks and G Suite have turn into key instruments in serving to EITs notice their desires.

Most individuals leaving jail don’t have computer systems. We used to offer donated and refurbished laptops to EITs, or invite them to our workplace to make use of our computer systems—however the laptops and software program have been usually old-fashioned. That’s once we turned to Chromebooks, which auto-updates and at all times has the newest software program, product options and virus safety. Thanks to a collaboration with Google since December 2014, we’re now giving EITs Chromebooks, G Suite accounts and Pixel telephones—all of which they get to maintain after graduating from this system.

The pace and ease of Chromebooks, in addition to their cheap price, made them excellent for us. Many EITs don’t have lots of laptop information, however it doesn’t take them lengthy to figure out methods to use Chromebooks and G Suite. The quick studying curve saves time for our program workers, who would usually should reply EITs’ and software program questions, since we don’t have an IT division. Equipped with Chromebooks, EITs can watch 250 hours of Defy Ventures video tutorials on entrepreneurship, employment readiness and private improvement. Chromebooks additionally join EITs to different assets, like job boards, housing lists and even the place to seek out garments to put on to interviews.

Matching EITs to mentors is a vital a part of our service. We used to pair them utilizing paper paperwork and spreadsheets. By putting mentor and EIT info into Google Forms, we streamlined the method so workers could make matches 50 p.c quicker than earlier than. Our workers can also be utilizing G Suite instruments like Gmail, Docs and Sheets to collaborate on work initiatives.

Google expertise additionally helps us maximize our assets. Previously, with only some borrowed or refurbished laptops, plus our workplace computer systems, we may solely serve about 30 EITs at a time. Now that EITs have Chromebooks and G Suite, they’ll work independently, and we are able to function many as 250 EITs without delay. The new gadget setup is fast and simple. We created a 30-minute coaching course known as “Getting to Know your Google Chromebook,” which walks EITs via gadget setup and the fundamentals of utilizing G Suite. After EITs have accomplished the course, our program managers comply with up with each to reply any remaining questions they’ve.

We imagine that with Chromebooks and G Suite, we’ll be capable to replicate our program in additional cities. And by providing EITs higher expertise, we imagine we are able to enhance retention charges and scale back their time to employment or to enterprise launch. We’ve given away 200 Chromebooks up to now, and we anticipate to offer away about 1,500 extra over the subsequent two years.

While these are long-term impacts, EITs have informed us how Chromebooks and G Suite are altering their lives proper now. “With this new Chromebook and Pixel telephone, I’m now in a position to handle my firm seamlessly and extra effectively,” says EIT Aaron Owens, who based Florida advertising and marketing and branding firm ArkBM.

Formerly incarcerated individuals have paid their debt to society, however they’ll stay in invisible handcuffs due to an absence of alternatives. I like seeing the grins on EITs’ faces and listening to the giddiness of their voices after they notice how a lot simpler it’s to pursue their private targets with the usage of expertise. And I am glad we have discovered the best match with Chromebooks and G Suite.


  • Time financial savings: Using Chromebooks and Google Forms, Defy Ventures workers matches EITs to mentors in 50 p.c much less time.

  • Productivity enchancment: Since Chromebooks and G Suite assist EITs work independently, Defy Ventures can function many as 100 EITs at a time, up from 30 EITs.

  • Expansion of providers: By utilizing Chromebooks and G Suite to streamline processes and save time, Defy Ventures hopes to develop its providers to extra cities.

This article sources info from The Keyword