State launching program to help former inmates on road to starting businesses
Illinois is launching a public-private partnership program aimed at helping former inmates start their own businesses.
Under the Pathway to Enterprise for Returning Citizens program, which will initially involve 125 former inmates returning to Chicago's South and West sides, the state's Department of Corrections (IDOC) will screen candidates who then will be taught how to run a business and use that knowledge to kick-start economic development and job creation in their communities, a Nov. 6 release from Gov. Bruce Rauner's office said.
Program participants who complete the program can launch their businesses through privately funded loans, underwritten by the Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group, worth up to $50,000 each, the release said. Other groups in the public-private partnership include the IDOC, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the state's Criminal Justice Information Authority.
Organizations that will provide training for the program include the Safer Foundation of Illinois, Bethel New Life in the Austin neighborhood, Chatham Business Association, Sunshine Enterprises and North Lawndale. Employment Network.
“One of my most-important goals since taking office has been to fix our broken criminal-justice system and give people a real chance at success when they are released from prison,” Rauner said in the news release. “This program not only allows us to create jobs in underserved communities, it also drives down the recidivism rate and sets families on the right course.”
The program will be monitored by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.