Tavon Paige’s unlikely path to becoming an electrician in Baltimore began when he was in prison, serving a sentence for dealing drugs. He needed direction, and he got it with a push from Project JumpStart, an intensive three-month training program in the construction industry. Koch Industries has long supported this program and others that enable people of all ages to improve their lives and communities.
“Before JumpStart, I was lost. I know who I am, but I didn’t know the path I wanted to take. JumpStart put me on that road,” Paige said of the program. “They put fuel in my engine, and now I can press that gas and take off.”
Project JumpStart has developed a “gold standard” reputation from businesses and policymakers for providing opportunities for those returning from prison, said Caryn York, executive director of the Job Opportunities Task Force. York added that she has heard from people outside of Maryland expressing interest in replicating the program’s successes in their communities.
“If they’re coming home, you want them connected to economic opportunity so that they don’t return back to that criminal activity,” York told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball.
This story originally appeared as a Freedom to Flourish segment, sponsored by Koch Industries, on Hill.TV’s Rising with Krystal & Buck.