Man sitting at a desk laughing with other students in classroom

Delivering Business Training

In the fall and spring semesters, Columbia MBA and Executive MBA students have the opportunity to learn about mass incarceration and teach a three-course curriculum covering financial empowermententrepreneurship, and negotiations at a local prison facility. B8584 REAP: Reforming Mass Incarceration and the Role of Business and B8580 REAP Immersion elective courses, provide selected students with a perspective and context, teaching training, curricular materials, assistance with transport arrangements, and other logistical support.

A joint initiative with Resilience Education, Hour Children, and Osborne Association

This reentry education initiative is being jointly offered by Resilience Education, Hour Children, Osborne Association, and the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School.

  • Resilience Education is a nonprofit organization that partners with business schools to provide high-quality business curricula for incarcerated and recently released individuals. Their courses have been successfully taught in juvenile, state and federal correctional facilities in Virginia by MBA students and alumni from University of Virginia’s Darden Business School since 2011.
  • Hour Children is a non-sectarian, nonprofit agency that provides prison- and community-based services to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their families. Their deep knowledge and experience in delivering programs inside state prisons and city jails, as well as hosting workshops for women at their Long Island City location, provided valuable feedback in the development of this initiative.
  • Osborne Association is a nonprofit that designs, implements, and advocates for solutions that address the damage caused by crime and incarceration. Their programs span all points of criminal legal involvement, from arrest and adjudication through community-based alternatives and diversion programs, to incarceration, reentry, and life rebuilt in our communities.

This unique partnership with REAP at Columbia Business School aims to increase post-incarceration employment opportunities which significantly increases the chances of successful reentry and a stable and productive future. In addition, Columbia's Center for Justice, the Heyman Center for the Humanities as well faculty from Columbia Law School who have been teaching courses in New York facilities, have also provided valuable advice for this initiative.

Courses are offered to women and men at Taconic Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, NY, and Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, NY. During the pandemic, these courses are being taught online to formerly incarcerated students connected to Justice Through Code.

Course Application Process

An invitation to apply for the B8584 and B8580 courses is sent out in April by email to MBA and EMBA students. Selected students will be required to be approved by the facility and Department of Corrections and attend a mandatory volunteers training provided by the facility.

Justice Through Code

Justice Through Code is a coding bootcamp that serves as a gateway for formerly incarcerated individuals to career track positions in the technology sector. The program is taught each semester and focuses on teaching formerly incarcerated individuals the fundamentals of programming in Python, as well as providing interpersonal skills training and networking opportunities. The program covers curriculum developed by Professor Mattan Griffel of the Business School, which focuses first on teaching participants the fundamentals of programming in Python, and then provides assignments designed to test participants’ knowledge of program material.

Justice Through Code is a partnership between the Center for Justice at Columbia University and the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School. This semester-long program started in Spring 2020, meeting in the evenings on Morningside Campus, but during the pandemic is being taught online. The course requires participants to complete at-home video lessons and coursework in order to receive a certificate of program completion.

Watch the video about the program here.