Martha, RebootLA participant
In October 2020, a Facebook pop-up ad about RebootLA appeared in Martha’s feed, an encouraging sign that it was time to enroll in a program she had long considered – coding bootcamp. Two weeks before, Martha got a DUI and RebootLA appealed to her because it offered sponsorships, financial support and training for individuals with a criminal record to pursue careers in the tech industry.

The program helped Martha regain “confidence that I’m going to be able to succeed in life, confidence that I am not defined by one mistake. It has been that spark of hope. And I don’t say this lightly. Coding saved my life.”

"[I've regained] confidence that I’m going to be able to succeed in life, confidence that I am not defined by one mistake"   ~ Martha

RebootLA is a partnership between the City and Sabio, a Los Angeles-based company that was established in 2013 with the mission of increasing the participation of women and people of color in the innovation economy.

Since joining the program in January 2021, Martha has immersed herself in training, built digital marketing experience and learned about entrepreneurship. The program also introduced Martha to LA City services and business counseling that helped her launch her own web development services business, Red Earth Consultations.

Martha said that learning to code has been challenging, but the mentoring and encouragement she receives through the program has inspired her and her fellow participants to keep going. “Take advantage of this opportunity cause this is such an amazing opportunity for folks who have been impacted by the criminal justice system. There will definitely be days that you want to quit. This program was designed for people like you to succeed.”

EWDD Incubators – Cultivating New Entrepreneurs

EWDD administers and supports several incubators in the City of Los Angeles through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, including RebootLA, an innovative, intensive web development and tech entrepreneurship program that will give re-entry individuals an opportunity to launch their own tech companies.

City of Los Angeles residents that have a criminal record with a state, city, or federal corrections or probation departments are eligible to apply. All services are provided at no cost to the RebootLA participants.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of July 26, 2021. Read this issue and more.