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EDUCATION REPORT - Women Inmates Train to Start Businesses After Prison

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This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

Getting a job can be especially difficult for someone with a prison record. So a prison training program in the American Northwest prepares women to start their own businesses.

(SOUND)

The program is called Lifelong Information for Entrepreneurs, or LIFE. The training combines business and social skills. The women learn how to manage their time, set goals and settle conflicts peacefully.

Saresa Whitley is serving five years for assault at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, a women's prison in Oregon. She has a job waiting for her when she is released in January. But she also plans to start a small business with the knowledge gained from the months of class.

SARESA WHITLEY: "When I was talking about knowing if my business is viable or not, through a profit-and-loss model, I was like 'Wow, I didn't even know the word viable before, and now I do.' I've learned a lot, I've learned a lot about how to write a business plan, about effective communications skills, how to listen, something I didn't know how to do before."

Cynthia Thompson is serving time for stealing someone's identity. She says the lessons learned in the program are important not just for the inmates, but also the communities they will re-enter.

CYNTHIA THOMPSON: "I think the goal of it is to produce people that are being part of the community, paying their taxes and being volunteers. Not just necessarily successful small businesses, but just successful, accountable people in the community."

MercyCorps Northwest started the training program four years ago. MercyCorps is an international development organization. Doug Cooper is assistant director of MercyCorps Northwest.

DOUG COOPER: "We were looking for ways that we could apply our expertise around economic development and small business management to populations that could use it. It's identical to what we do internationally, except we apply it here in Oregon and Washington."

MercyCorps Northwest has just started a LIFE program at a women's prison in Washington state. Doug Cooper says he hopes the idea will spread to prisons throughout the country.

The group says just three of the one hundred graduates of its training program have returned to prison. Graduates of the LIFE program have started businesses like cutting hair and selling goods at farmers markets.

One woman who served time for theft now runs an automobile repair business. Lori does not want her last name used. She says she worries what people might think if they knew she had been in prison. Lori stayed in contact with a MercyCorps mentor after she left prison. Together they found answers to questions about running a small business.

LORI: "What works, what doesn't? And is it worth having a website of your own, and what avenues of advertising can you exploit for free? Those are the type of things that I found invaluable."

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report. I'm Christopher Cruise.

网友的学习评论(8条):
作者:lvjiaying1984
It is becoming more and more important for the government management to find ways to treat the persons who were once in prisons. The reason why so many people do harm to the society as well as the persons living in the same society is that they don't have a job which can pay them for the daily essentials. They have to find ways to raise themselves. However, if they don't have a job, it is more likely that they will again do evil things. The program mentioned in the essay
作者:lvjiaying1984
is quite an example for us Chineseand the Chinese government management to follow. It is really hard for a company to accept a person who has had prison record, so the best way for the persons who once were in prison to raise money is to start their own business where there are not persons caring about what they have done nor who they are. My brother was once a prisoner in a prison located far away from where he lived. The reason why he did harm is that he thought no one
作者:lvjiaying1984
would catch him even if he stole a lot of things. At last, he was caught and put in prison where he had stayed there four years the period of which should be six years, after cutting down on. He thought there were so many people in the society, it must be very hard for the police to find them. However, that is not the case. And as for what influences him, it is the net game which is played among especially youngsters that made him determined in the wrong way.
作者:lvjiaying1984
In the virtual world, you can do anything you like without having to carry the responsibilities and they though it is the same in the reality which is not the case. The fought, stole and even got married with others in the virtual world. We should pay more attention to the regulation of the computer net games which influence among the youngsters and we should avoid youngsters under the age of 18 to take part in the net computer games to do the computer games without observation.
作者:Edith Linda
这是讲妇女从监狱出来以后进入收容所如何学习谋生,学会做生意,找工作
作者:Meng
Woman, half the sky,even woman with prison records.
作者:Tony.Pan
if China goverment will establish the dept for women out of prison? if not, i appeal to adopt the solution according to US experience. it will helpful for society
作者:rain
Yes ,it's very useful on modern time,chinese government can follow this method.
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