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Ohio program on the “Watch”

7/20/2014, 7:25 p.m.

(McClure, Ohio)--A recent feature story in the Wall Street Journal’s “MarketWatch” section, on financial literacy programs offered to inmates, highlighted the RIDGE Project, Inc., an Ohio-based nonprofit whose mission is to strengthen families.

The RIDGE Project’s co-executive director Ron Tijerina, himself a formerly-incarcerated father, shared the challenges that incarcerated populations face upon release from prison with Catey Hill of MarketWatch. “I’d never used a debit card prior to prison…I didn’t even know there was a four-digit password for one” noted Tijerina.

He then shared that the RIDGE Project began in part to address the needs of incarcerated fathers to develop character and life-coping skills in order to improve the chances for successful reintegration. “In order for his family to have success, we have to work to train the father to take responsibility for his actions, his family, and their future.” Many incarcerated individuals spend significant time isolated from the changes that take place in the financial world, including the challenges of new (to them) technologies like debit cards.

The RIDGE Project’s evidence-based nationally recognized best-practice “TYRO Dads” program includes a financial literacy add-on components called ‘TYROnomics’, designed to address a person’s relationship with money, not just their basic financial literacy. Hill’s MarketWatch article, ‘How prison inmates learn about money’, quotes Cornell University professor of law Robert Hockett: “It’s immensely important…so few Americans actually have good financial education.”

Tijerina noted that the TYRO program, an intensive 20 hour course, is also available to businesses for employee training and enrichment programs. “We have taken the successful TYRO training from inside at the prisons to outside at businesses both large and small. Transforming lives and creating successful families and futures helps strengthen our economy.”

For more information on the RIDGE Project and the TYRO program, contact the RIDGE Project’s Director of Workforce Training Tim Snoke at 419-278-0092.