Entrepreneurship for the Formerly Incarcerated: A Process Evaluation of the Pathway to Enterprise for Returning Citizens (PERC) Program
Published: June, 2019
Formerly incarcerated individuals may be unable to secure
stable employment and struggle to acquire income; however, starting their own
business may offer an alternative to the traditional job market. Researchers
evaluated the Pathway to Enterprise for Returning Citizen (PERC) program which
offered training and opportunities to start a business to those returning to
Cook County from Illinois prisons. Researchers examined delivery of PERC’s
entrepreneurship training; views of program participants and training staff
about the program; program completion; and knowledge gains through analysis of
data from focus groups, surveys, interviews, and administrative records.
Feedback from staff and participants was mostly positive and the program
increased entrepreneurship knowledge. However, program engagement with
returning citizens was a challenge—22 percent attended week one of class (of 72
accepted and assigned to PERC) and 12 completed PERC training.