January 24, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, APDS, an ed-tech public-benefit corporation enabling innovative technology and certifying career-readiness for justice-impacted individuals, announced the results of a cloud certification pilot program implemented inside the D.C. Department of Corrections (DOC). In collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), learners in the pilot program were invited to participate from D.C. DOC’s ‘Lead Up!’ which is a leadership, education, and development program designed to help justice-impacted individuals within one to two years of their release, with comprehensive support that will assist them in reducing recidivism and increasing employment opportunities. The first cohort of learners achieved an 85% pass rate on the AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification exam. 

“We are grateful to the D.C. DOC and Dr. Amy Lopez for partnering with APDS, to educate and equip incarcerated individuals for successful reentry,” stated Arti Finn, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer for APDS. “Our collaboration with AWS provides a forum for justice-impacted individuals to develop valuable enduring skills and credentials that will provide an opportunity to attain a living wage career. It’s my personal mission to transform the corrections industry from warehousing to rehabilitation, and this pilot, with a transformational jail committed to programming, brings us one step closer.” 

The program is one of several transformative steps that the D.C. DOC is taking to ensure that the justice-impacted have access to skills training and educational opportunities that can open pathways to new careers. Through this program, learners were taught foundational cloud computing skills through the AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials course on AWS Skill Builder that includes more than 500 free courses and learning plans, self-paced labs, practice exams, role-based games, and more. Participants were able to access the course using APDS’ secure tablets which are already in use in more than 100 correctional facilities across 18 states in the U.S. 

“Education and skills training initiatives like this are critical components of upward mobility,” said Maggie Carter, Director, Global Social Impact at AWS. “Providing free access to AWS cloud computing courses can provide the foundation and inspiration needed for justice-impacted individuals to pursue meaningful employment. This is the first time AWS has delivered skills training inside a correctional environment, and we are proud to collaborate with APDS to empower individuals through this transformative technology experience.” 

Education and vocational skills training have been shown to reduce recidivism, and foundational knowledge in cloud computing offers marketable skills for in-demand tech jobs. Throughout the program, APDS and AWS incorporated job readiness training into this experience, where learners participated in mock interviews and had access to in-person guest speakers to learn additional professional skills.  This included resume-building support from APDS, and as participants near release they can work with DOC staff to apply to training programs and/or jobs. 

One of the participating learners, Julian Blair, has a particularly accomplished past from winning football and track championships in high school, earning a full-ride scholarship, graduating college, to playing pro football. He said “This cloud computing certification will start a new chapter in life for me that I never would have thought possible. This is giving me a new avenue and direction for a career to support my son.” 

As part of reentry support, all participants are expected to join ‘Lead Out!’ where they can access additional services. All ‘Lead Out!’ participants will continue to have access to APDS tablets and content, as well as hundreds of AWS digital courses and learning paths where they can advance their education. 

APDS has been using AWS cloud computing services to power its career readiness programs for several years. This initiative which was started by Amazon’s Black Employee Network (BEN) President Anthony Cole, builds on an ongoing collaborative effort. Cole said, “We’re proud to expand our collaboration with APDS, to help justice-impacted learners gain valuable tech skills. This is a great example of how Amazon empowers our internal organizations to build initiatives that support the communities in which we live and work, that can be scaled into truly impactful work”

Following the success of the initial pilot, APDS will look at expanding this program in the future. To learn more about APDS, visit https://apds.works/ 

About APDS

Founded in 2014, APDS’ mission is to prepare every justice-impacted individual for a living wage career. Through our career readiness platform, we use our proprietary “Whole Learner Framework™” to deliver assessments and plans that motivate and engage the justice-impacted to effectively educate and equip in their pursuit to empower themselves and strengthen society. APDS leverages innovative technology that fosters growth and certifies career-readiness.

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

To learn more on APDS.works.


Justin Goldstein, 516-578-8623

December 19, 2022 08:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–APDS, an innovative education technology and public-benefit corporation that certifies career-readiness for the justice-impacted, today announced that B Lab, the nonprofit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet, has named APDS Best for the World in Corporate Governance 2022 for the fifth consecutive year, and Best for the World for Customers 2022 for the sixth consecutive year. B Lab awards the prestigious Best for the World designation to the top-performing 5% of Certified B Corporations, globally. APDS has been a B Corporation since 2015 and serves as the only Certified B-Corp in the United States.

Since 2016, APDS has been awarded Best for the World across several categories, including governance, customers, and changemakers. Please click here to learn more about our awards.

These awards are a testament to APDS’ work to break the cycle of incarceration and prepare every justice-impacted individual with a whole learner framework to create pathways to living-wage careers. Our Best for the World For Customers win highlights how APDS’ education technology is changing the corrections industry by never charging incarcerated individuals or their friends and family for our services. Furthermore, the company is committed to hiring justice-impacted professionals – 15% of the APDS workforce is justice-impacted.

“It is an honor to be recognized, once again, on the B Lab list of America’s Best for the World and to earn this distinction for a second year,” said Arti Finn, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of APDS. “We are committed to making the corrections space one of true rehabilitation, versus warehousing, and are extremely grateful to continue to serve the justice-impacted and work with corrections, and labor departments across the United States.”

The B Lab Best for the World 2022 list can be viewed here. Our 2023 Charge: Day 1 access to evidence-based education technology programming in every jurisdiction and state in the USA to create pathways to living-wage careers. To learn more about how to support our charge visit www.apds.works/charge.

About APDS

Founded in 2014, APDS’ mission is to prepare every justice-impacted individual for a living wage career and strengthen society. APDS leverages innovative education technology that fosters growth and certifies career-readiness. We are a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) and certified B-Corporation, that never charges incarcerated individuals or their friends and families for its technology or services. APDS’ products and services are deployed in hundreds of facilities across 18 states, including the District of Columbia.

Go to APDS.works to learn more.


Justin Goldstein, 516-578-8623

Impact-driven ETS Strategic Capital & New Markets Venture Partners co-led financing round

NEW YORK, N.Y. — APDS, a public-benefit corporation whose advanced career readiness platform helps incarcerated individuals attain a living wage after release, today announced that it has raised $7 million in new funding during the Series C round. The capital will allow the company to further scale its innovative services across correctional facilities nationwide while enhancing its proprietary learning platform, content offerings and strategic partnerships.

“APDS is poised to transform the correctional system. The momentum is growing across the country to rethink our society’s approach to incarceration and preparation for reentry. Just last month, the Biden administration promised $145 million to develop ’reentry plans’ for incarcerated persons. APDS has been a leader in this process through our Whole Human Framework approach to education,” said Harris Ferrell, APDS CEO. “We use our proprietary curriculum, assessments and plans to equip these individuals for long-term success. We can only accomplish this mission with dedicated investors who are double-bottom line oriented. This fundraising round will contribute directly toward continuing to develop our product, supporting the momentum of sales, and connecting our learners with the resources and support they need to obtain living wage jobs.”

APDS currently serves learners in more than 110 correctional facilities across 17 states. The rapid adoption of APDS is in part due to their learner-first business model. The company is the only dedicated correctional edtech provider that delivers technology and services for free to incarcerated learners.

ETS Strategic Capital, a division of ETS focused on equity investments, growth partnerships and mergers and acquisitions, co-lead the Series C round. ETS is aligned with APDS in their shared goal of advancing educational opportunities for all learners. ETS Strategic Capital invested $2 million into the Series C round to help further the group’s goal of breaking the cycle of incarceration through education and advancing ETS’s integration as an assessment partner.

“Our investment and role support the creation of innovative, quality educational opportunities for incarcerated people,” said Ralph Taylor-Smith, ETS Strategic Capital Managing Director, and incoming APDS board member. “We are excited to bring the power of assessment to APDS to drive second-chance opportunities, create new pathways for those reentering society and to reduce recidivism. Expanding access to quality education for all people is the heart of our mission at ETS and we are proud to partner with APDS to advance this shared goal.”

New Markets Venture Partners, focused on innovative technology-enabled, mission-driven companies driving sustainable social impact, co-leads the investment round.

“We are very excited to support APDS as it scales an increasingly efficacious solution to dramatically improve outcomes for returning citizens. The management team is best in class and APDS is exactly the type of high impact and commercially successful investment New Markets strives to enable,” stated Mark Grovic, General Partner, New Markets Venture Partners.

The APDS Series C round also saw the return of investments from Converge Venture Partners,ECMC Group’s Education Impact Fund, Juvo Ventures, the Partnership Fund for New York City, Rethink Education, and Strada Education Network.

To date, APDS learners have a 20% increase in post incarceration employment. Students utilizing APDS have a 130% increase in high school equivalency (HSE) pass rates and are about 70% more likely to complete their post-release reentry plans than their peers, demonstrating a long-term reduction of recidivism through education.


About ETS Strategic Capital

ETS Strategic Capital serves as the private equity investment and M&A execution arm for ETS, its subsidiaries and partners sourcing transactions within both the domestic United States and internationally. The division of ETS partners with the broader EdTech ecosystem to identify and execute deals, coordinate with other ETS business units to identify opportunities and needs, network with professional services firms with education expertise, and build direct relationships with businesses internationally — especially within Asia Pacific, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East & Africa (MENA) regions. ETS Strategic Capital targets private equity investments that are typically in Series B, C or later; acquisitions that are middle-market in scale; and growth partnerships that may involve joint ventures (JVs), channel-affiliate or distribution agreements, Intellectual Property (IP) licensing and technology-transfer relationships. www.ets.capital

About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. www.ets.org

About New Markets Venture Partners

New Markets Venture Partners is a leading impact investor that accelerates growth-stage education and workforce technology companies. The New Markets team has decades of experience supporting evidence-based, high growth companies that improve economic and social mobility by leveraging deep relationships with centers of education and workforce innovation. New Markets prides itself on adding value to its portfolio companies before, during, and after the investment process, with the ultimate goal of improving both individual outcomes and the productivity of America’s education workforce system. For more information, visit https://newmarketsvp.com/.

About APDS
APDS, a Certified B Corp, is the career readiness platform for all justice impacted individuals to attain a living wage job. APDS has proven success through its “Whole Human Framework” which is a proprietary curriculum delivering assessments and plans that motivate, engage, educate, and equip these individuals in their pursuit to empower themselves and strengthen society. APDS leverages innovative technology to create a managed learning environment that fosters growth and certifies career-readiness. apds.works

Featured Case Study

Massachusetts is currently the only state in the country that has committed to personalized education, workforce, and rehabilitation plans for each individual incarcerated in the state’s prisons.

Download the case study to read about how APDS helped MADOC administer the digital and infrastructure implementation required to bring this complex and monumental project to life.