Incarcerated & Returning Citizens:

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Vocational Training and Re-entry Programs for Incarcerated and Returning Citizens

It’s no secret that recidivism rates are astronomical. Our efforts to reduce recidivism are about helping people find and train for meaningful work and ensuring former offenders have the support resources they need to be a success.

In an ever increasingly digital world, digital literacy is a mandatory part of that equation. Digital skills and career success go hand in hand, and digitally based careers are some of the most accessible, and highest paying. We provide former offenders the skills they need to be successful, create communities of support, and mentor them in a way that magnifies personal success rate, and drops recidivism.

Digital Bridges Mastermind Mentorship provides former offenders with a foundational knowledge of technology. Participants range from construction based careers, food prep, or those who choose vocational certifications offered through Digital Bridges Pittsburgh.

This program can be conducted within an institution, in the community, or in a transitional format that begins while the participant is incarcerated, then continues upon release.

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What is a Mastermind Group?

A mastermind group is a peer-to-peer mentoring concept used to help members solve their problems with input and advice from the other group members. The concept was coined in 1925 by author Napoleon Hill in his book "The Law of Success" and described in more detail in his 1937 book, Think and Grow Rich.

Digital Bridges Mastermind Mentorship program combines the benefits of this group learning technique with the individualized learning and support of a mentorship program. The goal of this program is to engage former offenders who have a desire to use technology as an aid to learning and career preparedness.

We create a safe, nonjudgmental community of like-minded, goal-oriented individuals who support each other in the creative use of technology to solve problems and grow.

Through a goal-oriented curriculum, this program is designed to help participants create an individualized assessment and learning plan aiming to meet basic needs and begin an active path to further career preparedness. The Digital Bridges Mastermind Mentorship program teaches participants safe, smart strategies to use technology-based resources to create a better life and future.

Program Components:


Participants will come together weekly to learn and support one another. Their individual goal is meant to foster career development, positive relationships, and a safe, non-judgmental community group.

Individualized Learning:

Each participant will work with a mentor to define their goal and create a plan, or “blueprint” to achieve their goal. The career focus of their goal is of their choosing and will grow using technology as a tool to complete or advance their goal.

Weekly Lesson Curriculum:

Participants will come together weekly to engage in a technology-based lesson, and receive support for their individualized projects.

Weekly group meetings will take the following format:

  • Meet, mingle, converse
  • Circle up for “Heart Check” Round robin share
  • Each participant takes approximately 1 minute to tell the group how they are doing on a scale of 1-10 and identify some “wins” from the previous week.
  • Spotlight Participants: Two individual participants will have 15 minutes to discuss any challenges they are facing and receive support from the group.
  • Lesson: Topic of the week, discussion of the lesson and how to apply it to individual projects.
    • Core Topics:
      • Intro to the program.
      • Basic Needs Assessment. Setting the foundation for success.
      • Interests: Using technology to explore interests and learn.
      • Skills and Aptitudes: What are you good at?
      • Using digital tools to find real resources.
        • Personal Resources
        • Professional Resources
        • Education Resources
      • How to define your mission/goals.
      • Safe solutions online: protect yourself and your career.
      • Real IT- how tech works and how it can impact you.
        • Basic Internet Skills
        • Protecting Yourself Online
        • Social Media Skills
        • Protecting Your Data
        • The cloud, crawlers, bots, and trolls: Demystifying Tech Terms and Understanding what’s out there.
        • How to spot a scam
      • Communicating Online- Safe, Effective Communication Techniques.
        • Personal Branding
        • Networking Online.
      • Legitimate ways to make money online.
        • Freelancing and the Gig Economy
        • Online or Remote Jobs
      • Careers in Technology and Business
      • Careers in Construction and Trades- How technology influences them.
      • Technology for Small Businesses
      • Additional Ongoing topics generated based on group needs and interests.

Weekly "Office Hours" Work Time and Individual Check-in: (optional, open session)

  • Program leaders will be present to discuss the individual goal or lesson for the week. This meeting time is meant to enrich and further support participants in their goals and learning. This provides participants a second, casual, opportunity to connect and support each other and work on projects together, further fostering community building.
  • Participants will also have a Facebook group or other social media based group where they can discuss their projects. A digital system will be used to track project goal setting and attainment.

Vocational Training:

Participants with an interest in careers in business or technology can choose to obtain certifications through Digital Bridges training:

These certifications will lead to quality career options such as Marketing Specialist; Sales Representative; Telephone Customer Service Representative. This curriculum sets the stage for additional digital training including computer networking and support and web development.

Certifications available:

  • Certiport IC3 Digital Literacy Certification (Suggested for all program participants)
  • Certiport Small Business/Entrepreneur Certification
    • With Digital Bridges Customer Service Certificate
  • Participants with the appropriate skills and interest can be coached through Certified Web Developer Certification by StackSkills.

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