BRISTOL, R.I. – Adriana I. Dawson, assistant dean at the Roger Williams University School of Continuing Studies, this week received the 2016 Friend of the Corrections Department Award from the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.
Dawson, assistant dean for the Center for Workforce & Professional Development, served as an instructor in a job-readiness program, “Pivot the Hustle,” which RWU and the Department of Corrections launched more than a year ago to help inmates pivot to productive careers.
“From the beginning, when you named the program ‘Pivot the Hustle,’ it was clear that you were in tune with the needs of our population,” Department of Corrections Director A.T. Wall told Dawson in a letter. “Since the start of the program, the participants and staff have done nothing but rave about your energy and commitment to this initiative’s success.”
Wall said, “When issues arise, you face them with the utmost professionalism and a positive attitude. You demonstrate great creativity and flexibility while working closely with Rhode Island Department of Corrections staff to achieve our common goals. Your diligence and commitment to the ‘Pivot the Hustle’ program have made it the success that it is today. You are a wonderful resource to our department and to the State of Rhode Island.”
In December, 14 male inmates and 12 female inmates graduated from the “Pivot the Hustle” program, which was developed and is managed by the School of Continuing Studies. The 16-week program begins by prompting inmates to analyze where they are in life, what changes they need to make and where they want to be in the future. 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. The program uses no public funds, and by cutting down on recidivism, it can save taxpayer money in future years.
Jamie Scurry, dean of the School of Continuing Studies, said, “Adriana and her team have gone above and beyond bringing ‘Pivot the Hustle’ to life for the men and women who participate in the program. Adriana and the team build trust with each man and women in the program. That trust becomes the driver for growing relationships that are necessary to help the men and women begin to transform their thinking, then their participation and then, hopefully, their lives. It is an amazing program executed by truly dedicated individuals.”