Monday, September 15, 2008

Prison Entrepreneurship Program in Texas

I recently posted about how difficult it was for felony offenders to find employment when released from jail. I saw developing entrepreneurial options for some felons might be the only possible route to employment in the future when insurance requirements make it impossible for businesses to hire them.

A story in the September 2008 issue of Christianity Today, tells of a faith venture organization called Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) that provides inmates in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice with entrepreneurial training from Ivy League MBA students. (Thanks to Business as Ministry Blog for pointing the way) This selective program only accepts participants who deeply desire change from past negative lifestyle choices. These inmates then receive extensive training in business and develop a comprehensive business plan. The program also provides teachings in Christian values and morality but does not require a faith commitment from participants. PEP was started in 2004 by Catherine Rohr, a 26-year-old Wall Street private-equity investor, and has graduated a total 420 students as of this past summer. This is a faith venture that understands the entrepreneurial spirit inherent in felony offenders.

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