Michelle Cirocco is the Executive Director, President, and Chief Impact Officer of Televerde Foundation, a company whose goal is to provide jobs, training, and education to women in prison to give them the skills they need to move forward once they’re out. Over 4,000 women have gone through Televerde’s program and transitioned back into their communities with exceptional results.
Michelle is one such example. When she was sentenced to seven years in jail she had two kids and knew she needed to change. Televerde gave her the chance. Michelle shares with us how Televerde changed her life and discusses what other businesses can do to help move people forward, together.
Truth You Can Act On
1. Put Purpose Before Profit
When companies put purpose before profit, it’s amazing how the money will follow. Pick your favorite brand, Dave’s Killer Bread, Ben&Jerry’s, Tom’s Shoes. All of these organizations have built their businesses with a sense of purpose behind them, and we fall in love with them. We fall in love with the ideas and what they stand for.
2. Inspect Your Recruiting Policies
Companies are desperate to find good talent that will stay in the job for any period of time. And yet we have this whole population of people who suffer from unemployment rates. So in there lies a solution that I call the prison to workforce pipeline. That’s where businesses can get involved. You can outsource help to companies like Televerde to develop talent, to provide people with the employment opportunities while they’re incarcerated to learn the skills that they can then transition back into the community with. Or you can inspect your employment pipeline. What are your policies? Are you excluding people? Do you have a box on your application that says, ‘Have you ever been convicted of a felony?’ Maybe you don’t care about the answer, but that person, when they see that box, they’re done, they’re not even going to apply when they see that box, because that sends a message that says, ‘We discriminate.’
3. Move People from Incarceration to Meaningful Work
If you have a policy that says we don’t hire people with a criminal record, you’re immediately excluding one third of the employable people in the country from working for you. So if you’ve got a talent problem, you’ve got to start there. Look at who you are excluding and why. And then figure out if you can expand your talent pipeline by looking at those individuals.
Listen to the full episode: Episode 160: Second Chances Can Fuel Talent Pipelines with Michelle Cirocco