For many returning citizens, punishment does not end when they leave prison. Finding work becomes a daunting task and often an insurmountable barrier. Yet according to criminologists, work can be the critical difference between restoration and recidivism.
In 2011, a small group of philanthropic investors in Columbus, Ohio, pooled funds to launch CleanTurn Enterprises—a for-profit company whose mission is “to strengthen communities with an empowered workforce by creating profitable social enterprises.”
By leveraging the market demand for their services CleanTurn Enterprises generates profitable revenue through its two distinct brands, CleanTurn Demolition Services and She Has A Name Cleaning Services. Profit is reinvested in employment, training, and support service programs for those who have interacted with the criminal justice system.
Rather than rely on grants or philanthropy, CleanTurn has built a self-sustaining business model that has produced more than 500 employment opportunities, served 1,000+ customers, and generated over 200 million dollars in community impact in partnership with over 50 community partners.
MORE THAN A JOB
Being employed not only offers a way to provide for one's family and contribute to society, but also provides a sense of purpose and community—a place in the world for those who lost their footing with incarceration.
CleanTurn Enterprises offers more than job placement. It offers a loving and nurturing community that recognizes the individual as a human being with potential. She Has A Name Cleaning Services explains that "by declaring that every person has a name, dignity, and a narrative, we recognize each of us are on a journey, and we each have a story filled with hope."
MORE THAN WORDS
CleanTurn Enterprises' commitment transcends words, when employees like Cortez relates his experience: "I have an opportunity here that I wouldn't have. I've been given an opportunity to prove myself. This is a place to better yourself."
Many returning citizens feel disenfranchised, ignored, and hopeless.
"I now have an opportunity to work, and if I do well, to become an apprentice for an electrician," says Joshua, who has worked on several jobs with CleanTurn. "John Rush (president and chief executive officer, CleanTurn Enterprises) treats us with respect and cares about everyone. I've never had a boss like that. I'm finally being responsible, doing what I'm supposed to be doing."
IGNITING THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT
Many people who have served time are more entrepreneurial than we think. Entrepreneurism offers a career to those who have visualized starting a company and a means to provide for their family. Moreover, entrepreneurial companies create jobs, pay taxes, and contribute to their community. According to a study by John Jay College of Criminal Justice (2007), "Entrepreneurship may represent a means of capitalizing on an underutilized pool of human resources."
CleanTurn Enterprises also recognizes the entrepreneurial potential within this community and has developed a program with community partners focused on equipping returning citizens with what is required to start and manage a small business. Participants assess their skills, identify areas of interests, learn about types of entrepreneurs and funding options, receive business planning information, have access to legal counsel, hear stories of best practices, and receive a copy of their credit report.
By the end of 2017, more than 500 returning citizens will receive training.
BEST PRACTICES REPLICATED
CleanTurn Enterprises understands the power of helping other businesses replicate their business model and best practices. Through their community engagement program, Passion Purpose Profit, they focus on educating other businesses on how to create a culture where second chance citizens can not only get a job but thrive!