Image via Lexington Herald-Leader

In an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader, Bobby Clark cited PEP as an inspiration for his work with hard-to-employ youth:

Tom Martin: Another focus of yours that could also be taken as “sustainability” is helping difficult-to-employ people create their own jobs. How does that work?

Bobby Clark: Back in 2009, I created the Sustainable Business Ventures nonprofit to focus on helping 16- to 24-year-old students learn how to develop a business plan so that they could pursue their own passion through a business enterprise, but with a focus on sustainability.

Well, that adapted to learning about a program in Texas called the Prison Entrepreneurship Program where they’re working with inmates in prison to help them through an extensive program of entrepreneurship to create the skill set that they’re going to need when they get out. Seventy percent of employers will not hire an ex-offender and what we want to do is empower these men and women when they get out with the ability to start their own business: teach problem-solving, critical thinking, team-building, selling yourself. Part of the problem, after you come out of prison is you’re really down and you’re having difficulty presenting yourself. This is a way to empower those folks to do that. In Texas, they’ve been running this program for almost 10 years. The national recidivism rate is 46.8 percent of those leaving prison will re-incarcerate within three years. The program down in Texas has a five percent recidivism rate.

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