You've probably heard this story before.
Man gets convicted of a crime, spends time in prison, is paroled and when his employer find out he's an ex-con immediately fires him. The man goes back to his criminal behavior and possibly back to prison.An alternative for the ex-con is to start his own business.
Enter members of the Service Corps of Retired Executives, a program sponsored by the Small Business Administration, who have been visiting the Utah State Prison and giving workshops on how to start and operate a business.
Ed Grunander, who retired five years ago as manager of a distribution center for Sears Roebuck & Co., and Ed Pfeiffer, who owned Pfeiffer Food Products, but was forced to retire eight years ago when he lost his sight, have been conducting the prison workshops.
They take experts in various fields with them to the prison to conduct some of the classes.
SCORE members regularly conduct seminars in the Federal Building on how to start and operate a business, recordkeeping, marketing and financing. But Grunander and Pfeiffer have taken their show on the road to the prison at the request of Elaine Fryer, who organizes prison classes part time.
Grunander and Pfeiffer said they have been told that because of budget cutbacks at the prison, there is less chance for vocational training for the inmates. That's why they feel their volunteer work is needed.
Because of the regimen facing the inmates, Grunander and Pfeiffer aren't able to give their entire workshop but are usually limited to one hour per visit. They hope to get more time in the future.
In addition to being amazed at how intelligent the inmates are, both men are surprised that more isn't done to prepare them for release. Because of the prison program and other attempts to offer counseling to those contemplating getting into business or those with business-oriented problems, Grunander and Pfeiffer said more retired counselors are needed.