Project Return is an employment-boosting nonprofit organization in Nashville, Tennessee, focused on persons who have recently returned to the community from incarceration. Situated in a metropolitan county with five state prisons and a federal halfway house, and located in a southern state where more than 15,000 ex-offenders emerge annually from state or federal incarceration facilities, Project Return is poised to expand its reach and impact.
Project Return provides job readiness training and job search assistance, complemented with holistic, wraparound case management, to people who are extremely motivated to get our help, overcome the odds, and gain employment. In the past year, Project Return provided services to more than 2,100 ex-offenders. Significantly, over 60% of the nearly 500 persons who completed Project Return’s job readiness curriculum and engaged in its individualized job coaching and case management obtained employment through Project Return. Additionally, in contrast to a re-incarceration rate nationwide that hovers around 50%, the recidivism rate was only 13.7% for former felony offenders who completed Project Return’s program in a recent 24-month period.
Project Return recently launched a social enterprise, in the form of a new transitional employment program, as an enhancement to our job readiness and employment placement work. This new entrepreneurial program will provide immediate, temporary employment to recently released ex-offenders during their most vulnerable time and when the threat of recidivism is highest, while at the same time preparing them to be permanently employed, productive members of the community.