The partnership delivers a first-ever, fully integrated incarceration-to-release education and training model available to inmates, returning citizens, their families, as well as anyone touched by the criminal justice system.
June 2, 2020 (Jacksonville, Florida) — Today, Reflecting Freedom Network (RFN) and Citizens Education, Inc. (CEI) announced a new partnership to offer online accredited education, career development and essential skills training to address the systemic problem of recidivism and increasing economic inequality for at-risk individuals. The initiative is funded through a wide range of international philanthropic initiatives, including foundations, individual grant-makers and reentry service providers.
The Reflecting Freedom Network is designed for anyone impacted by the criminal justice system, including corrections officers and their families, with the goal of gaining economic mobility through personal development. The key to the partnership is that it is outcome-based – the participant can earn an accredited diploma, build skills through online career credentialing modules, and ultimately level up to higher-paying jobs.
RFN’s Founder Khalil Osiris and Citizens Education President Dr. Jim Etter created the partnership with the desire to bring world-class solutions to our most vulnerable communities. Most often, access to postsecondary education and entry-level employment opportunities require a high school diploma as criteria for acceptance. Without a diploma, many individuals get left behind, contributing to growing income inequality, the vicious cycle of recidivism, and an inexcusable expression of economic discrimination.
Osiris, social entrepreneur and Advisor to the House of Mandela Family Foundation and Athens Democracy Forum designed the one-of-a-kind formula after 30 years of experience working in reentry, both in the US as well as South Africa. “We know that many individuals impacted by mass incarceration in this country and abroad have a strong desire to achieve but lack opportunity for career growth,” said Osiris. “Our goal for Reflecting Freedom Network is to knock down barriers for participants in our system so they can build successful pathways for themselves and their families by connecting philanthropy with educational technology.”
Dr. Etter added, “We recognize that current limitations in place-based education due to the pandemic have the potential to exacerbate income inequality and the widening achievement gap. It’s incumbent upon us to make high quality educational programming available to everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status. I’m grateful to partner with Khalil Osiris, whose personal story is a great example to us all of breaking free of self-imposed limitations through education. We will support Reflecting Freedom Network by providing accredited high school diplomas at no cost to the learner thanks to our growing community of support. Whether the diploma candidate is currently incarcerated, recently released or a family-member, the ability to inspire desire for a better life through this partnership is exhilarating.”
The multi-faceted, omnidirectional learning system was created with flexibility to overcome the challenges associated with providing online education in corrections-based use cases, as well as other situations where access to technology and connectivity are limited. Courses are faculty-led, graded and regionally accredited. Additionally, the platform offers exclusive electives in the diploma program, including Life Skills, Workforce Development, African- American Studies, Teen Parent Courses, Español for ESL students and many more.
Career guidance is a central component of the network, highlighted by a library of 1,000 career cards and over 600 videos exploring career possibilities. Other features include an Applicant Tracking System, a resume builder, learning reports, messaging and intelligent reporting capability to key stakeholders.
For organizations looking to partner with Reflecting Freedom Network, more information can be found here. The program is accepting enrollments immediately.
About Reflecting Freedom Network
Reflecting Freedom Network, a non-profit organization, is a community of individuals committed to building public/private sector partnerships to promote economic and social justice through education, career development and innovative skills training opportunities. RFN’s mission is to provide accessible, affordable pathways for people to build freedom and opportunities for success together.
About Citizens Education and Citizens High School
Citizens High School is a private for-profit online high school and one of the oldest actively accredited distance education high schools in the United States. The school is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association and is nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Council. Citizens’ High School has provided thousands of students with learning and career pathways, leading them to social and economic stability.
Curtis Hazel, Director of Marketing & Communications
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