APDS Wins 2023 D2L Excellence Award for Innovative Education Programs 

The ed-tech company APDS has been awarded for its work addressing educational barriers faced by incarcerated individuals. 

New York, NY – Wednesday, July 12, 2023 – On July 13th, tomorrow, APDS will receive the D2L 2023 Excellence Award at the 2023 Fusion Conference in Anaheim. D2L, a global learning technology company, each year honors innovative educators, trainers, and leaders in employee engagement who have provided exceptional learning experiences using D2L Brightspace. 

APDS, an education technology and public-benefit corporation providing free education and career readiness courses to incarcerated individuals statewide, has won the Excellence Award for their courses “The Master Plan” and “Liberation Education.” These courses are part of the “Inside Knowledge” program on D2L Brightspace. They were designed to help educate and motivate justice-impacted learners while equipping them with the skills to pursue successful careers. The courses were co-created by APDS and formerly incarcerated teachers Chris Wilson and Kimonti Carter, who are advocates for the justice-impacted community. Since launching “The Master Plan”, APDS has helped over 20,000 unique learners unlock their potential and achieve their personal and career goals through innovative and accessible learning solutions. 

APDS tablets enhance in-person and support the delivery of programming for all. On average, 550 learners a week have accessed the course and students on average spend 33% more time accessing education (compared to other tablet education providers). APDS does not look to replace in-person learning but instead uses its technology to help address limitations like access due to class size restrictions.

Education is a powerful tool to end systemic injustice and break the cycle of incarceration. Kimonti Carter shared, “Education freed me – literally.” Kimonti was released in the fall of 2022 from his life sentence without the possibility of parole. His freedom came partly because of his leadership and innovation in creating and participating in “T.E.A.C.H.” (Taking Education and Creating History), a prisoner self-education program.

Even when incarcerated students are fortunate enough to receive educational services, the curriculum may have little bearing on their lives; teachers struggle to motivate and connect with their students personally. ”Students are not met where they’re at,” Chris Wilson, Educational Consultant and Director of Engagement at APDS explained. “All of us learn better when we are motivated by excellent teachers who’ve experienced similar challenges as we have – who’ve been there and gotten where we’re at.”

“We are thrilled to be recognized for our work in creating innovative educational programs that help justice-impacted learners thrive and break the cycle of incarceration,” stated APDS’ Co-Founder Arti Finn.”This award is a testament to our team and partners’ hard work and dedication, including Kimonti and Chris, who co-created these courses.”

APDS courses are designed to guide learners through inner reflection and goal setting and help prepare them for career pathways. D2L CEO John Baker expressed his pride in the innovative leaders using D2L Brightspace to reach and engage more learners. The awards will be celebrated at the Fusion conference in July and throughout the year. 

Additionally, APDS has launched a 2nd Chances @ Work campaign targeting employers and inviting them to learn the importance of equitable access to employment opportunities. This campaign asks employers and individuals to take a pledge to build more inclusive workplaces and reduce recidivism by offering justice-impacted individuals living wage jobs. Connecting formerly incarcerated individuals with employment is critical to reducing recidivism and education is one of the approaches APDS’ takes to provide these folks with living wage jobs.

For more information on the courses discussed in the press release, you may check the award case study here and APDS’ media kit here.



Founded in 2014, APDS’ mission is to prepare every justice-impacted individual for a living wage career. Through the career readiness platform, their proprietary “Whole Learner Framework™” delivers education technology assessments designed by expert educators to transform learners for renewed career-readiness and reskilled education and training on a customized pathway; to earn living wage employment and reenter society to rebuild their lives.

APDS is a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) and certified B-Corporation, based on a philosophy that never charges incarcerated individuals or their families for its technology or services. APDS products and services are deployed across 18 states, including the District of Columbia — in hundreds of facilities across the United States, servicing thousands of justice-impacted individuals. To learn more, go to APDS.works.


Yulu PR


D2L is transforming the way the world learns—helping learners of all ages achieve more than they dreamed possible. Working closely with clients all over the world, D2L is supporting millions of people learning online and in person. Our growing global workforce is dedicated to making the best learning products to leave the world better than they found it. Learn more about D2L for K-12, higher education and businesses at www.D2L.com. Twitter: @D2L  

© 2023 D2L Corporation.  

The D2L family of companies includes D2L Inc., D2L Corporation, D2L Ltd, D2L Australia Pty Ltd, D2L Europe Ltd, D2L EU B.V., D2L Asia Pte Ltd and D2L Brasil Soluções de Tecnologia para Educação Ltda.  

All D2L marks are trademarks of D2L Corporation. Please visit D2L.com/trademarks for a list of D2L marks. 


The Excellence Awards honor the innovation, progress, and betterment of learning in the communities we serve. Each year, D2L recognizes up to five inspiring award winners who demonstrate these values. Learn more here: https://www.d2l.com/excellence-awards/.


Chris Wilson was born and raised in Washington, D.C., under extremely difficult circumstances. Poverty, drug addiction, and gun violence were the everyday norm in his community. At 17, he was charged with a crime, convicted, and sentenced to natural life in prison. During times of isolation, he decided not only to turn his life around but to make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty-stricken communities similar to his childhood surroundings. “Many years ago, I committed to self-improvement and helping others. I sat in a dark cell and wrote up what I now call my Master Plan. A plan to build a business empire and help others.” 


Kimonti Carter is the founder of T.E.A.C.H. (Taking Education and Creating History), a prisoner-led higher-education program now at three Washington prisons, a leader in the Black Prisoners’ Caucus, and the subject of the award-winning documentary film Since I Been Down. At the age of 18, Kimonti was sentenced to life without parole and spent 25 years and 3 months of his life in federal prison. Kimonti has transformed himself into a leader, mentor, and teacher and dedicated his life to preventing kids and young adults like he once was from making the same mistakes he made.

Share the Post:

Recent News

Romicha Cooper is the Director of Talent for APDS. She is seasoned Human Resources Professional in both public and private sectors for nearly 20 years. Her approach to talent management is with trust and transparency. In 2020, Cooper authored a children’s book titled “Aunty’s House” inspired by her childhood and family.

Kimonti Carter is the former president and current Resource & Equity Director of the Black Prisoners’ Caucus Community Group. At 34, Kimonti founded T.E.A.C.H., a higher-education program that he designed with the Black Prisoners’ Caucus to bring college courses to Washington State prisoners. Kimonti is also featured in the award-winning documentary Since I Been Down and serves as an APDS educational consultant. He is a community advocate, educator, motivational speaker, and curriculum designer of Liberation Education, a course on the ADPS educational platform.

Ralph is the Founder and Managing Director of ETS Strategic Capital; he also serves as Chief Investment Officer (CIO) for the unit. With experience in engineering, applied-science, finance, and business management, he has led ten venture investments and serves on six Boards of Directors. Previously, he worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, and in R&D at Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies, and AT&T. Ralph holds twelve patents in various technology fields and is a Kauffman Fellow, Robert Toigo Foundation Fellow, and PriceBabson SEE Fellow. He serves on non-profit boards, including Princeton University Engineering and the Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) of the NNSA, and works with the NSF on SBIR and STTR programs.

LaToya Newson is a trailblazer in the field of adult education, with a wealth of experience in corrections education programming. She spearheaded the creation of the Reentry, Employment, Adult Education Program (Project REAP) – a groundbreaking initiative aimed at curbing recidivism by providing education and training to justice-impacted individuals. This innovative program provides incarcerated individuals with the tools and resources they need to complete their high school equivalency exam, preparing them for success upon their release.

Born and raised in D.C, Chris grew up under extremely difficult circumstances. At the age of 17, he was charged with a crime, convicted, and sentenced to natural life in prison. While incarcerated, he earned his high school diploma, graduated from all of the vocational shops, earned an Associate Degree and started his Master Plan, a roadmap for his future. After serving 16 years in prison, Chris wrote and published The Master Plan: My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose to inspire other justice-impacted individuals to achieve their fullest potential.

As CEO of APDS, Harris oversees all aspects of the company’s operations. His expertise, leadership, and vision have made him a respected figure in the education industry, and he continues to drive forward his mission of using EdTech to make a difference in the lives of justice-impacted individuals. Harris has a deep understanding of the unique challenges of EdTech in corrections, and he is passionate about leveraging technology to create innovative solutions that can help transform the lives of students and educators alike.

As Chief Revenue Officer of APDS, Mott ensures the successful delivery of evidence based programing to the states and jurisdictions serviced by APDS. In this role, Mott is instrumental in driving long-term change in recidivism and positive learner outcomes. She is a passionate advocate for free individualized programming for justice-impacted individuals.

A passionate advocate for social justice and education, Arti Finn co-founded APDS in 2013 with the ambitious goal of creating pathways to living-wage employment for individuals affected by the justice system. Under her visionary leadership, APDS has revolutionized the edtech landscape within the correctional environment, providing high-quality programming at no cost to justice-impacted individuals or their families in hundreds of facilities across 18 states.


As Chief Strategy Officer, Arti skillfully directs the company’s policy, government relations, marketing, and public relations efforts while also forging strategic partnerships to further advance the organization’s mission. Her keen focus is on helping correctional systems reimagine the potential of technology to deliver scalable, tailored programming that empowers justice-involved individuals to successfully reintegrate into society.

Nate Ober is the Chief Technology and Product Officer at APDS, where he leads teams responsible for developing innovative content and technology products for justice-impacted learners and driving technology efficiency in the company’s business systems. With 18 years of experience in education technology, Nate has a track record of guiding organizations through growth and transformation. He has expertise in product management, agile transformation, IT modernization, software development, and scalable educational technology solutions. Before joining APDS, Nate held various roles in the education industry, including CTO and Head of Product at Straighterline and CTO at Questar Assessment.

Dr. Amy Lopez is a federal appointee and nationally recognized expert who designs and delivers innovative correctional educational programming for incarcerated individuals and training for staff entrusted with their care. She is a pioneer in launching first-of-their-kind programs on positive behavior interventions, leveraging technology to connect incarcerated individuals with educational and legal resources, and implementing innovative trauma-informed staff training to de-escalate crisis situations. 

Carol D’Amico is a seasoned higher education reformer, dedicated to connecting education with the world of work. As a consultant, she contributes to talent growth across education, workforce, and economic development sectors. D’Amico’s background includes serving as Executive Vice President of Strada Education Network, Assistant Secretary for Adult and Vocational Education in the U.S. Department of Education, and co-director of the Center for Workforce Development at the Hudson Institute. While at the Hudson Institute, she co-authored “Workforce 2020,” examining the future U.S. workforce demographics and the challenges of preparing for a global economy.


In addition to her policy work, D’Amico has held leadership roles in higher education institutions, serving as executive vice president and chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, and president and CEO of Conexus Indiana, a manufacturing and logistics initiative.

Sign The Pledge

UNITE WITH US to build a more equitable work force for 2nd Chance Employees.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.