How inmates who fight wildfires are later denied firefighting jobs

Firefighters battle flames north of L.A. in this 2008 photograph. Photo: Mike Meadows / AP

There are about 1,500 prisoners doing the grueling work of fighting California wildfires, including the record-breaking Camp Fire, according to the New York Times. This is a long-standing program in which inmates earn up to $3 a day for their volunteer work, but upon release it will be almost impossible for them to get a firefighting job in the state.

Why it matters: Many prisons offer educational and job training programs for inmates hoping to work in fields like cosmetology, firefighting or even law after serving their time. However, due to complicated occupational licensing laws that often result in denials of former criminals, the training is often useless after incarcerated men and women are released.

Expert Voices

Where the transportation tech jobs are

Data: Brookings; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The transition to digital mobility — the diffusion of digital technology into every transportation product and service, including autonomous vehicles — will impact at least 9.5 million people already working in transportation-related occupations, according to a new Brookings report.

Why it matters: Every week brings announcements around technology breakthroughs, capital infusions and new consumer-facing services. But that news often distracts from a pressing need to develop the workforce that will create, manage and maintain AVs, in addition to overseeing the digital services and built environment around them.

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