Salisbury, MA: By Elizabeth Mullard. On a cold Thursday in January, seven SCORE Mentors met with 22 women currently enrolled in the Essex County Corrections system. For two hours, 5 smaller groups teamed up under the guidance of the SCORE mentor to start their hypothetical business, from concept to funding. The enthusiasm grew as their business ideas became a company name, their roles were determined and their financial goals and needs defined. The workshop culminated with a presentation of the business plan by each team.

“I am thrilled to have these skilled business men and women come to inspire our inmates to think about running their own businesses, “ says Jim Higgins, Essex County Community Correction Center Clinical Director. “Not only do they help us meet our objectives as a Center, but also these counselors deliver information in an encouraging and enjoyable way. We look forward to having them back for another workshop in a few months.”

The Essex County Sheriff's Department was one of the first law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts to embrace the concept of community corrections centers. There are multiple objectives for these centers, including providing offenders with the opportunity to live and work in their communities, giving help and support toward earning a GED, and encouraging a work ethic in offenders by teaching job skills, assisting in job placements and monitoring employment progress.

The Northeast Massachusetts chapter of SCORE offers free and confidential counseling to businesses of all sizes and stages of development.