Former inmate finds success as computer coding entrepreneur

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Photo via WINK News

A Southwest Florida man went from inmate to computer coding entrepreneur, and now he’s helping write a “comeback story” for workers hurt by the pandemic.

While serving eight years in prison, Antoine Patton unlocked a new skill. He said he went down to the computer lab and found a book on coding and started teaching himself.

He said his new passion is fueled by a desire to help others.

“One of the ideas is the photo patch foundation, which the idea was kids can upload photos, type a letter, press send and it’ll come to us, we’ll print it all out and ship it to the prison for free,” Patton said.

This began to make communicating with his then 3-year-old daughter Jay Jay easier.

“My mom didn’t always have money for stamps,” Patton said.

When he was released in 2014, he got to work, and today, they have helped more than 30,000 kids – but their impact doesn’t stop there.

Nichole Brown started working as a surgical assistant for 12 years before losing her job in March. She came into contact with Patton and signed up for his Unlock Academy.

“Had I not started taking those classes to learn to code, I’d be so lost,” Brown said.

When Patton found out Brown lost her job, he jumped in to help.

“He reached out to me and gave me some things to work on as a virtual assistant. It’s been a life-changer,” Brown said.

Patton said people in Brown’s situation is why he started the Unlock Academy.

“Lose your job, don’t feel worried about it. That’s why we started the Unlock Academy to help people unlock this new skill set,” he said.

The Unlock Academy is built to teach beginners, coach intermediates, and help those who want to level up in tech.

For more information, visit the Unlock Academy website HERE.

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