Posts Tagged ‘prison re-entry’

Several PEP graduates have been released from prison lately … take a look at these photos snapped by our re-entry team.

Each of these men was picked up directly from prison by a fellow PEP graduate who now works for PEP as a re-entry coordinator. These re-entry coordinators will guide the growth and continuing transformation of these newly released men, each of whom will be put to the test in the “free world.”

Please join us in welcoming our brothers home!

Baylor University Certificate in Entrepreneurship

William G. was among the first PEP graduates to earn his Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business

Graduates from the Prison Entrepreneurship Program can now earn their Certificates in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University‘s Hankamer School of Business through a new partnership between PEP and the university. See the official press release here.

“We offer a ‘mini MBA’ program within the Texas prison system that transforms inmates into entrepreneurs,” said Bert Smith, CEO of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP). Through the program, the inmates also develop complete business plans for a real venture that they can pursue after release.

During PEP’s Business Plan Competition at the Cleveland Correctional Center north of Houston, these inmates will pitch their business plans over 120 times — including to groups of more than 50 “free world” executives, entrepreneurs and MBA students who attend PEP’s in-prison eventsLearn more in this recent article in The New York Times.

Founded in 2004, PEP is a privately-funded nonprofit that engages executives, entrepreneurs and MBA students as volunteers in a values-based entrepreneurship boot camp that is offered within the Texas prison system. Each year, more than 5,000 inmates apply to be a part of PEP – but only the top 5 percent are selected for this elite program.

“Our graduates invest over 1,000 hours of work into our six-month Business Plan Competition class, which incorporates a college-level curriculum supplemented by Harvard MBA cases, the AP Writing Stylebook, Toastmasters, an employment workshop and a financial literacy course,” Smith said. “In addition, we focus at least half of our time on character assessment and development, built around PEP’s Ten Driving Values.”

“What impresses me the most is how these men not only complete this very rigorous program within a prison, but they do so while completing a full business plan for a real venture that they can launch after release from prison,” said Dr. Gary Carini, associate dean of the Graduate Program in Management & Entrepreneurship at the Baylor University Hankamer School of Business, and a member of the governing board for PEP.

PEP participants pitch their plans before panels of executive judges in a “Shark Tank” format at PEP’s monthly events. The presentations prepare the men for making their case in the free world – including to potential employers once they are released.

“I had been arrested four times before my 21st birthday,” said Harvey M., who graduated from PEP’s Class 10. Harvey is now rolling his first food truck in Houston. “Most of the world had written me off – but not PEP. They gave me the tools that I needed to succeed and even helped me to open my own business.”

Thanks to the preparation that they receive while in PEP, 100 percent of PEP’s graduates find a job within 90 days of release from prison. More than 120 of them have started their own businesses, including at least two that are now grossing more than $1 million in annual sales. And most impressively, the organization boasts some of the lowest recidivism rates in the country: PEP’s three-year recidivism rate has been as low as <5 percent, compared to the national average of nearly 50 percent.

“After reviewing the caliber of PEP’s curriculum and the quality of their results, Baylor University has agreed to award a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from the Hankamer School of Business to every graduate from PEP,” stated Carini.

The partnership began in December 2012, when 70 PEP graduates earned their certificates by completing the PEP Business Plan Competition class and graduating in a full cap-and-gown ceremony attended by their friends, family and PEP executive volunteers.

ABOUT PRISON ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM
Established in 2004, Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) is a Houston-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are servant leaders on a mission to transform inmates and executives by unlocking human potential through entrepreneurial passion, education, and mentoring. Our groundbreaking results include a return-to-prison rate of less than 5%, employment rate of 100% within 90 days, and the successful launch of more than 100 businesses. www.PEP.org

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

ABOUT HANKAMER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business provides a rigorous academic experience, consisting of classroom and hands-on learning, guided by Christian commitment and a global perspective. Recognized nationally for several programs, including Entrepreneurship and Accounting, the school offers 24 undergraduate and 13 graduate areas of study. Visit www.baylor.edu/business and follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Baylor_Business.

PEP graduationMortar boards. Tassels. Pomp and Circumstance.

For many of us, these words signaled the end of one life and the beginning of another. We crossed the graduation stage to find doors of opportunity opening before us.

Imagine how hard it would have been to open those same doors without a diploma (let alone a college degree). Success would still have been possible, but it is no accident that many of the men whom we serve at PEP did not have a high school diploma before they entered prison.

The odds were not exactly in their favor.

And yet — all of that will change for them on December 7th: when Class 18 graduates from the Prison Entrepreneurship Program!

For many, this will be their first time wearing a cap and gown!

We would love for you to join us for our celebration. The event is from 2:00 until 5:00 p.m. at the Cleveland Correctional Center (just 45 minutes north of Houston).

Invite your friends — HELP US PACK THE GRADUATION HALL!

See you in prison,

Jeremy Gregg
Chief Development Officer

p.s. You can admit it … you’ve always wanted to setup an “out of office” email that says “I can’t reply. I’m in prison!” Well, now is your chance! Click here to join us.

National financial expert Ryan Mack, author of Living in the Village and President of Optimum Capital Management, recently visited the Prison Entrepreneurship Program in Houston, Texas. After both teaching a three-hour class in prison and meeting some of the program’s released graduates in the “free world,” Mr. Mack offered this endorsement of PEP.

washington postThe Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) was recently profiled in The Washington Post:

Case study: How can prison inmates prepare for success?

In 2004, the nonprofit organization Prison Entrepreneurship Program in Texas pioneered a program to connect executives, MBA students and politicians with convicted felons to redirect them into legitimate enterprises. The entrepreneurship boot camp and reentry program have achieved impressive results. Three-year recidivism rates in Texas hover around 25 percent, but have dropped to 5 percent for graduates of the program.

Check out the full article at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/case-study-how-can-prison-inmates-prepare-for-success/2012/09/28/7fc5aa24-0760-11e2-a10c-fa5a255a9258_story.html

PEP was also mentioned by Right on Crime in one of their recent articles, and was cited in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

Thank you for being a part of our movement to transform prisons into places of opportunity!

Half the Recidivism. Double your Impact.

To celebrate the lowest return-to-prison rate in our history, our Board of Directors is doubling all gifts over $100 made before March 31st … up to $110,000!

Last year, PEP estimated that less than 10% of our graduates returned to prison within three years of release. This year, we are proud to announce that the rate of recidivism has now dropped to below 5% thanks to your generous contributions of time and money.

You support a program that WORKS.

100% of the graduates in our post-release program are employed within 90 days of release, and they’ve started over 100 businesses!

Your continued investments will allow us to fully occupy the prison in Cleveland by the end of 2013. Together, we will transform hundreds more lives each year. Please click here to donate at least $100 before March 31, 2012 and make your gift count twice.

This includes recurring donations – so your commitment of only $25 per month will immediately secure a $300 match!

Double your donation. Double your impact.

Click here to give a gift.