Pivot program propelling ‘returning citizens' from behind bars and into the working world

It's graduation day for students of a special program run by Georgetown University.

The program helps young men and women transitioning from prison or jail back into the working world.

The "Pivot Program's" inaugural graduation event is the culmination of a year-long initiative.

Jermaine Dory of College Park served six months in jail for providing erroneous information on an application for a Federal grant to get a graduate degree at the University of Maryland.

Now he's aspiring to be an entrepreneurial future – possibly in IT.

"I do potentially plan to go into my own business... doing like IT support... staffing and things of that nature," he said.

Kadija Clifton hopes a new life beyond bars will propel her idea for healthy foods in the District's poorer neighborhoods.

"I decided to create a business called Cloud 9 Eats which brings healthier food alternatives to underserved areas in DC," Clifton said.

Pivot seeks to change society's perception of ex-cons to start thinking of them as "returning citizens."

Clifton and Dory are two of the first class' 15 graduates.

"The beautiful thing about this program is it takes ideas and gives you opportunity," Clifton said.

"It allows us to have the opportunity to regain what we had before going in and changing the narratives of being incarcerated. That we can be productive members in society and that we do have a purpose in life and that we can succeed," Dory said.

Clifton spent three years in prison for a street crime she committed when she was a teenager.

"I like to think that that was a breaking point in my life cause I was just really misguided. So now I really like to talk to youth. I have a podcast out now where we actually highlight programs that surround re-entry and how important they are," she said.

Pivot is one of a number of programs run by Georgetown University for students and non-students alike in an off-campus communal workspace not far from the White House.

"We've really come a long way with changing the stigma of what a returning citizen even is, and so I just really want to keep pushing that mission forward and being a representation of that," Clifton said.

The business school is already interviewing prospective students for next year's Pivot glass. The program starts again in the fall.