Bill McCleskey with BEST program at Tennessee Prison for Women

by | May 5, 2016 | Uncategorized

CEO and Founder of Mitech Partners, Bill McCleskey participated as a volunteer judge and guest entrepreneur of the week with the Building Entrepreneurs for Success in Tennessee, or BEST Program at the Tennessee Prison for Women.

Seventeen women graduated last week from the BEST program. Co-founded by Karen Vander Molen in 2014, its mission is to prepare inmates for the job market, and also for self-employment, given the difficulties those with a criminal record have in finding a job. In doing so, the organization seeks to reduce the three-year recidivism rate in Tennessee, now at 48.4 percent.

Vander Molen built the BEST program as part of a civic leadership master program at Lipscomb University and began with a group of 22 men at the Charles Bass Correctional Complex, which has since closed. The program was launched in partnership with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, and John Murdock, a director at the Entrepreneur Center, is a weekly instructor and teaches the same curriculum he uses for the EC’s PreFlight program. Several local business leaders have donated their time.

“They will either be a super employer or a much more savvy, committed and adept employee,” Vander Molen said. “We need them to be coming out with the skills and the confidence and the wherewithal to rejoin society as a contributing member.”

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