City Startup Labs’ ReEntry Entrepreneurship Program (REEP), with the support of an NC Idea BEC Ecosystem grant, has been able to move ahead with the planned launch of the training of a new cohort of returning citizens and justice-involved individuals. The training, slated to begin May 17th, will be based on a new model informed by the results of the REEP Pilot in 2018-19.
The LEARN/EARN/BUILD model emphasizes on-trend skills and entrepreneurship training, apprenticeships or paid-internships, with resulting entrepreneurial or employment options for the program graduates. The next cohorts will focus on digital tech services in order to enable those graduates to pursue viable new careers, either as entrepreneurs directly addressing the digital divide (think Geek Squad in the ‘hood) or as entry-level employees with 2nd Chance employers in the area – looking for well-prepared talent.
Leading this effort and positioning REEP for future impact is its new program director, Travis Williams. Travis is in fact, a returning citizen who participated in the REEP Pilot and has since gone on to work in key supervisory and management positions with Charlotte-area companies. He is bringing strong entrepreneurial instincts and a dedication to REEP’s mission to this new role. Travis imagines refining and solidifying REEP’s efforts to unlock the innovative spirit and entrepreneurial talent and capacity of returning citizens.