Pivot in Forbes

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Georgetown University’s Pivot Program: Preparing Former Prisoners To Become Entrepreneurs

The Pivot Program was conceived and is operated by faculty in Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business in partnership with two major funders – the D.C. Department of Employment Services (part of the mayor’s office) and the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, which awarded a $400,000 grant to support the project.

It’s a ten-month education and re-entry program for recently incarcerated individuals in the D.C. area, where of the 5,000 people annually released from jail and prisons, less than half find sustainable employment.

Here’s how it works. Individuals are referred to the program from various sources, and they are interviewed and screened to assess their personal and academic readiness to participate. Up to 20 carefully selected participants are then enrolled in a full-time program that blends academic work and internships. They receive a stipend of $600 per week.

The focus is on entrepreneurship, with the cohort of fellows receiving classroom instruction in the fundamentals of business along with liberal arts courses such as economics, literature, history and psychology. The curriculum also includes training in personal finance, career planning, and the soft skills of business etiquette, public speaking, basic technology and conflict resolution.

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