How It Works

Pivot Program fellowships are full-time commitments. The first portion of the program is spent in class, developing the skills needed to succeed in a business and professional environment. Following the completion of the academic program, Pivot Fellows spend approximately three months in a hands-on internship at area companies and nonprofit organizations. During that final phase, Fellows choose between one of two post-program tracks: incubation or employment. Those opting to create their own businesses are provided with workspace, business coaching, legal support and access to resources; those seeking permanent employment are guided through a focused employment search. Throughout the program, Pivot Program Fellows receive a weekly stipend from the D.C. Department of Employment Services, which creates a strong incentive to complete the full set of program requirements.

The principal goal is employment readiness – and the program is designed to prepare participants for a range of post-program outcomes: sustainable employment, owning and operating their own businesses, and/or continuing their education. The curriculum provides both training in the fundamentals of business and entrepreneurship, as well as general knowledge and liberal arts courses (literature, economics, philosophy, and civic engagement). The program also includes modules on professional and life skills, such as personal finance, career planning, business communications and business etiquette, public speaking, self-advocacy, and conflict resolution.

The emphasis on entrepreneurship is intentional – while fellows are not required to start a business, they are taught how to adopt and apply an entrepreneurial mindset and to feel a greater sense of empowerment. We believe this increased confidence will result in a more positive career trajectory and an enhanced ability to respond to social and regulatory barriers.

Next: Who Is Eligible?