On June 30, the fifth cohort of returning citizens to participate in the Pivot Program received certificates in business and entrepreneurship from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Designed in partnership with the DC Department of Employment Services, the Pivot Program offers returning citizens the skills needed for employment in a business and professional environment.
“It is always a thrill to celebrate the accomplishments of our fellows, and to see their genuine excitement about the path ahead,” Pivot Executive and Academic Director Alyssa Lovegrove said. “And after five years of Pivot, it is equally gratifying to see a growing awareness that presenting opportunities to talented and hardworking individuals like our fellows is something that benefits everyone in the community.”
The Pivot Program welcomes a new cohort of formerly incarcerated students, known as Pivot Fellows, every fall. In the first six months of the program, fellows take classes that focus on liberal arts and critical thinking; crafting a compelling personal narrative; business fundamentals; entrepreneurship; and professional and life skills, including basic technology training. The program also emphasizes the importance of building entrepreneurship skills as it guides fellows in the creation of their own business ideas with the help of experienced mentors.
After completing the academic phase, fellows spend three months in subsidized internships with local companies and select either employment or entrepreneurship post-program tracks. Fellows who choose to seek permanent employment receive support with a focused employment search. Several of this year’s graduates found full-time employment with the companies and organizations where they interned. Fellows who decide to start their own businesses receive workspace, business coaching, legal support, and access to resources.
The program is also dedicated to changing the mindsets of employers to create more job opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals.
During this year’s graduation ceremony, fellows expressed pride in their hard work, the community they built, and the support they received from the program. 2023 graduate Alexis Green celebrated fellows’ strength, excellence, and determination during this year’s program in remarks to graduates and their supporters.
“Perseverance is not just a solitary endeavor, but a collective strength that inspires us to uplift one another and make a positive impact in the world,” Green said.
“Thank you for all you have instilled in us,” said Johnnie Akinruli, another 2023 graduate, in his graduation remarks. “The reward that’s in store for you will be our success for our future.”