A coding program targeting prison inmates has graduated its first class in Indiana. California-based nonprofit The Last Mile, which first announced it was coming to Indiana in January 2018, celebrated the graduation of inmates from the Indiana Women's Prison in Indianapolis. During the ceremony, officials announced the program would soon expand to more Hoosier correctional facilities.

Governor Eric Holcomb was on hand to congratulate the graduates and told Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman the state had hoped to reach this milestone.

"This program is about hope turning into a reality at its basic level, making sure that it's not rhetorical that if you get an education, good things will come; this is proof of that," said Holcomb. "For it to have started here where we wanted to make sure that it was going to be successful, we started with these ladies and then we went to Pendleton to offer the same pathway to juveniles and then to move it to Putnamville and Plainfield and Rockville, this is the start and we're just a year into it."

In addition to coding classes, the program also provides mentorship and job placement services after the inmates are released. In December, the nonprofit announced it was expanding to the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility, thanks to a $2 million grant from Google.org.

Holcomb says seeing the success of the graduates shows that the "sky's the limit" for Indiana. "This is going to allow the state of Indiana to see people when they leave these gates be on a pathway to a better life, a new life. This is also going to allow our state to not just skill up, which we need to do, but build up our ecosystem in a tech arena that is so critical to the businesses of the future."

The governor says state's continuous efforts for improvement has helped drive the success of The Last Mile in Indiana.