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Velázquez Introduces Bill to Provide Pathway to Entrepreneurship for the Currently and Formerly Incarcerated

Washington, D.C.— Today, House Small Business Committee Ranking Member Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) introduced the Prison to Proprietorship Act, a bill to increase access to entrepreneurial training for the currently and formerly incarcerated.
“Research has shown that the strongest predictor for recidivism is poverty. The stigma of incarceration often deprives returning citizens the ability to earn a living, which can push them back into the prison system,” said Ranking Member Velázquez. “By investing in entrepreneurial training, we can empower the formerly incarcerated to be their own boss and overcome the discrimination they face in the job market. Returning citizens have paid their debt to society and deserve a real second chance; this bill will help provide that.”  
In 2023, more than 41,000 incarcerated individuals were released from federal prisons. When transitioning from prison into a community, the formerly incarcerated face substantial obstacles to re-entering the workforce and a high risk of recidivism. Studies have shown that an estimated 60 percent of returning citizens remain unemployed a year after their release.
The Prison to Proprietorship Act seeks to increase job opportunities for returning citizens by directing Small Business Administration (SBA) resource partners to extend entrepreneurial development training to federal prisons and formerly incarcerated individuals.    
The bill would direct Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) and Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) to offer entrepreneurship training services to incarcerated individuals in federal prisons. These training offerings would provide one-on-one mentoring opportunities and in-depth classroom instruction on topics like accessing capital and identifying business opportunities. In addition, the bill would prioritize individuals eligible for release within 18 months. 
For a full copy of the bill, click here.


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