The Last Mile

PENDLETON -- U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility Wednesday to see a “second chance” program aimed at teaching incarcerated youth to become software engineers.

DeVos spoke to nine teens in The Last Mile -- a one-year program that hopes to end recidivism by teaching computer skills that may lead to tech jobs or further education. Indiana was the first state outside of California to adopt the coding program. It’s now in five state correctional facilities.

Jason Jones spent 13 years in California's San Quentin State Prison, where The Last Mile started. He says the program changed his life. (Drew Daudelin/WFYI)

One year ago Indiana adopted a unique program that trains prisoners to become software engineers. On Tuesday, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the program will expand, thanks to a $2 million grant from Google.

The program is called The Last Mile. It’s designed to prepare incarcerated individuals for tech jobs through virtual coding courses.

Inmates at the Indiana Women’s Prison will soon be the first outside of California to enroll in a computer coding seminar. The Last Mile program tries to reduce recidivism and train women for a career path where they’re under-represented.

“We all need a second chance,” says MC Hammer, the musician known for "U Can't Touch This" and a board member of The Last Mile. “This is a country of second chances and these ladies deserve a second chance.”