Vice Media has begun to accept applications for its apprenticeship program, which will employ and train formerly incarcerated individuals across areas including content development, production and marketing, the company announced Thursday in a statement. The program will launch in early 2017 and is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 25 on probation, based in New York City.
Vice has partnered with the Center for Employment Opportunities to create the six-month program, which will give people with criminal records and little to no college or workforce experience the chance to attain skills necessary for long-term employment in media, while providing participants with a pay of $15 per hour for 40 hours per week.
Each participant will be able to take advantage of Vice’s production facilities and divisions, including the voice-over studios, virtual-reality rooms and digital channels.
Vice co-founder Shane Smith voiced his hope that other media companies will emulate the goals of the program, providing a new insight on both prison reform and the value of life, in a time where one of the main drivers of recidivism in the United States is due to incarceration.
“While working with President Obama on ‘Fixing The System,’ our documentary on prison reform, I was struck by the high recidivism rate, and by the fact that once you enter into the system it is indeed very hard to get yourself out,” Smith said in a statement. “It is admittedly a small step, but hopefully other media companies will follow suit and not only push for change, but also nurture a whole new group of producers, shooters, cutters and hosts that will offer a new perspective not only on prison reform, but life itself.”