H.R. 5065 would direct the Small Business Administration (SBA), in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), to establish a program to provide entrepreneurship counseling and training services to people formerly incarcerated in a federal prison. Under the legislation, the SBA would work through the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) to provide those services across the nation.
SCORE works with nonprofit organizations to provide training to owners and aspiring owners of small businesses across the nation. In recent years, SCORE has trained around 500,000 clients each year with a federal cost of about $16 million a year (or about $30 per client). The program is supported by more than 11,000 business professionals that volunteer their time and expertise to mentor aspiring entrepreneurs.
Each year about 43,000 people are released from federal prisons. Using information on participation rates in education and training programs for former prisoners, CBO estimates that about 5 percent of that population would participate in the entrepreneurship program each year. Based on the initial costs of establishing other SBA programs, estimated participation rates, and the ability to use existing training materials and locations, CBO estimates that it would cost about $2 million to develop the curriculum and coordinate with BOP to reach out and provide services to previously released prisoners. After establishing the program, CBO expects that the costs to mentor and train new participants that would become eligible each year would be similar to the cost of serving SCORE’s existing clients and would thus be insignificant in every year through 2025.
The costs of the legislation, detailed in Table 1, fall within budget function 370 (commerce and housing credit).