Inmates prepare to pivot to careers in program launched by RWU, Department of Corrections


Nine men will graduate from innovative job-readiness program
at Roger Williams University’s Providence campus on Wednesday evening

PROVIDENCE, RI – Nine men will graduate on Wednesday, May 10, from
«Pivot the Hustle,» an innovative program that helps Rhode Island inmates turn their
lives around and head toward productive careers.

Roger Williams University’s School of Continuing Studies and the state Department of
Corrections launched the career and job-readiness program in January 2016, and this
represents the third group of men to graduate. The first-ever group of female
participants graduated in December. The program, which uses no taxpayer money, was
developed and is managed by RWU.

Wednesday’s ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. in Room 434 of RWU’s Providence campus, at
1 Empire St. The media are invited to cover the event.

RWU President Donald J. Farish said the program represents just one example of RWU’s
goal of building the university the world needs now. «‘Pivot the Hustle’ supplies
inmates with the skills necessary to help them get their lives back on track,» he
said. «Every person who can follow the path to financial independence, rather than a
return path to prison, not only has his or her self-respect back, but also does not
cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars each year to incarcerate.»

Department of Corrections Director A.T. Wall said, «We are very excited about the
success of the ‘Pivot the Hustle’ program and look forward to participating in the
third graduation ceremony. This initiative has proven to be transformational for the
inmate participants and represents a creative and successful collaboration between
Roger Williams University and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.»

Jamie Scurry, dean of RWU’s School of Continuing Studies, said, «It really does take
us all working together to ensure successful re-entry. The men must do their part
and ‘pivot’ their skill sets, live new habits and make solid decisions. We must do
our part to provide support and deliver a top-notch program that offers the
opportunity for self-discovery, skill building and job/life readiness. And industry
must do its part by providing employment/career opportunities. With us all working
together, we can reduce recidivism and make certain that the cycle is broken,
leading to stronger families and stronger communities.»

Adriana I. Dawson — assistant dean of RWU’s School of Continuing Studies, who
oversees the Center for Workforce and Professional Development and serves as a
program instructor – said, «The end of the program is always bittersweet for me. I
have gotten to know these men over the course of the last couple of months, and I
know how committed they are to turning their lives around. My hope is that employers
recognize this population as a potential talent pool and are just as willing to
support their successful transition with jobs on the other end.»

«Pivot the Hustle» builds on prison-based education programs, aiming to develop the
«soft skills» that make former inmates more employable, Dawson said. At the outset,
the program prompts inmates to analyze where they are in life, what changes they
need to make and where they want to be in the future, she said. It prepares them to
talk about their personal stories and to speak to an employer. It teaches them how
to look for jobs and to match their skills with job opportunities. And it provides a
model for giving ex-offenders the ability to contribute to the state’s economy, she

At Wednesday’s ceremony, the speakers are to include Director Wall, Dean Scurry and
RWU Provost Andrew Workman.

About RWU: With campuses on the coast of Bristol and in the heart of Providence,
R.I., Roger Williams University is a forward-thinking private university committed
to strengthening society through engaged teaching and learning. At RWU, small
classes, direct access to faculty and guaranteed opportunity for real-world projects
ensure that its nearly 4,000 undergraduates – along with hundreds of law students,
graduate students and adult learners – graduate with the ability to think critically
along with the practical skills that today’s employers demand. Roger Williams is
leading the way in American higher education, confronting the most pressing issues
facing students and families – increasing costs, rising debt and job readiness.