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DC daily roundup: Fighting post-incarceration digital divides; the district’s $25B budget; Congress questions Microsoft prez

Plus Gen Z advocates' demands of AI policy.

SCOTT CIRCLE. (NATIONAL MALL NPS/X)

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How reentry shaped a tech career

When Teresa Hodge was released from prison in 2011, after serving a sentence for mail fraud and other white-collar charges, she stepped into a completely different digital world. When she began her term in 2006, the iPhone hadn’t even come out.

“Technology, social media: It’s a contact sport, and if you’re not connected to it, you don’t understand it,” she told me.

So, she launched the Baltimore nonprofit Mission: Launch in 2012 to make the reentry process easier for formerly incarcerated people. That organization has hosted solution-generation hackathons in DC as part of this work. Later on, Hodge co-created R3 Score, an alternative background check service and credit counseling firm. She asserts that when helping formerly incarcerated people reenter society, they need to be at the center of the conversation.

➡️ Read more about Teresa Hodge’s advice and journey in my latest report here.

Tech tools to help you work better

Some tech journalists are swimming in gadgets. That’s not our situation at Technical.ly: We focus on local startups, ecosystems and, of course, people. Any tools we adopt that aren’t specifically for work, we pay the bill for.

But these tools can still help our productivity — and maybe yours, too. Senior reporter Holly Quinn, an unapologetic Android/PC user and emerging tech lover, wrote up a story about what’s catching her eye lately. What’s at the top of her list? Audio transcribers, AI tools and virtual reality programs.

➡️ Get more information about these latest and greatest tools here

News Incubator: What else to know today

• The DC Council gave its final approval of the $21 billion 2025 budget on Wednesday. [Axios]

• The interim executive director the nonpartisan initiative planning America’s 250th anniversary is the cofounder and former president of the Arlington-based private investigator platform Trustify Inc., which was accused of fraud in 2020. [Washington Biz Journal]

• Congress is looking for answers from Microsoft President Brad Smith after several federal officials’ email accounts were hacked. [Washington Post]

• Spotify received an FTC complaint, which was filed by the National Music Publishers’ Association. It revolves around Spotify’s audiobook bundle, which resulted in fewer royalty payments for songwriters. [Bloomberg]

• Gen Z is concerned about AI. Here’s what its members, including a student from American University, want policymakers to do. [Semafor]

🗓️ On the Calendar

• Public Knowledge hosts a day-long conference exploring emerging tech and the public good on June 14. [Details here]

• The second annual Black Commerce: The Future of Entrepreneurship conference will take place between June 19 and 22 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. It will feature several workshops and panels, as well as a resource fair. [Details here]

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