Logo for Second Chance Studios Fellowship


Second Chance Studios is a nonprofit digital media company that trains and employs formerly incarcerated individuals. 

The Problem
On any given year, 8,500 New Yorkers are released from prison — joining an estimated 96,000 on probation and 43,000 on parole. 53% of those released are rearrested within three years. Countless studies have shown that these formerly incarcerated individuals receive little to no training and guidance to enter the workforce — on top of the fact that their prior records (and gaps in employment) often serve as insurmountable barriers to joining the workforce. There are over 670 regulations in place in New York State that restrict formerly incarcerated from receiving occupational licenses. Those lucky enough to find employment work almost entirely in manual labor jobs. Job opportunities involving skilled work are practically non-existent. 

Most common fields the formerly incarcerated enter:
1. Construction (27%)
2. Factory Work (12%)
3. Maintenance (12%)

Half of currently-employed, formerly-incarcerated earn this amount or less annually.

The Opportunity

The new media space (consisting of audio, video, social media and podcasting) is undergoing explosive growth. Employment opportunities in these industries are forecasted to grow 2x - 3x the average of all occupations in the U.S. And venture capital firms are brokering roughly 3x more deals with podcasting companies today vs. 10 years ago. 

Our Story
The idea for Second Chance Studios emerged in 2019 from a conversation that our Cofounders Coss Marte, Ravi Gupta, and Alfred Johnson had about creating redemptive opportunities for people exiting the prison system. The two podcast hosts in the group were experiencing the growth of new media first-hand, and the former-inmate-turned-entrepreneur in the group was all too familiar with the challenges formerly incarcerated people face in re-entering the workforce. Second Chance Studios was born through this conversation and the matching of a growing opportunity in digital media and an unmet need in re-entry.

Our reintegration model builds on the work Cofounder Coss Marte has done to achieve a 0% recidivism rate among the 100+ formerly incarcerated people he has hired through his fitness company CONBODY since 2014.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign in Summer 2020 and an influx of fellowship applications, Lajuanda M. Asemota joined the founding team as the full-time CEO in January 2021 and hired our small but mighty full-time staff to launch our first Digital Media Fellowship program. After six months of paid training and experiential learning, our inaugural cohort graduated from the Fellowship program and were placed in production positions at MTV. 

How It Works
We leverage explosive growth in the digital media industry to unlock careers, restore dignity, and deliver economic empowerment to returning citizens through our paid, full-time six month Digital Media Fellowship. Our Digital Media Fellows gain soft, life, professional, and technical skills, eventually operating the digital media studio and producing original audio and video content.

Explore the Fellowship Program