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Regions Bank - Justice Program - Birmingham, AL
In 2020, a group of Atlanta-based nonprofit providers came together to provide a 10-week job training, skill-building, mentoring and entrepreneurial program for returning citizens/offenders called Project Restart. The first cohort attended weekly classes that became twice a week virtual classes by the end, with training on life skills, entrepreneurship and how to access capital. Each week, participants worked with their mentors to complete part of their business plan and were able to pitch for funding for their businesses and to apply for legal incorporation. Regions Bank was a title sponsor of the inaugural program through the nonprofit partner Georgia Micro-Enterprise Network, whose mission is to create opportunities and support microbusiness development as an avenue for economic self-sufficiency in Georgia.
In February of 2021, Project Restart became a non-profit organization and launched the second year of programming in Atlanta. The goal is to reduce recidivism through participant commitment to following three pathways: employment, education/training or entrepreneurship and to assist participants in successful reentry. Since the program started in 2020, 31 graduates have completed the formal training, 48 individuals have been helped with referrals for housing, technology, employment, entrepreneurship and education or training programs outside of the formal program, 29 graduates have received a micro-grant, all participants received financial education, financial coaching and mentorship. 100% of the program participants have successfully completed the program and none have been reincarcerated. The third year of the program is scheduled to begin in August of 2022.