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Televerde: Empowering Women and Powering the Second Chance Employment Movement
Started in 1994, Televerde hires incarcerated women to work in the company’s engagement centers located in three U.S. correctional facilities. Its business model to empower women offers fair compensation as well as sales and marketing skills and certification in technologies such as Marketo, Salesforce and Eloqua. This level of knowledge and on-the-job experience increases their job prospects and provides a clear advantage over others in the hiring process when they are released. Many of the women who have graduated Televerde’s program now hold positions at some of the most recognizable Fortune 500 companies in top sales, marketing and technology roles.
Since its inception, Televerde has generated $8 billion in revenue for clients and $25 million in annual cost savings for Arizona taxpayers. Compared to the national recidivism average of 68% – meaning nearly 7 out of 10 people end up back in prison – recidivism for the 3,000 women graduates of Televerde’s program is only 5.5 percent.

“From a business perspective, second chance hiring is a win-win-win.”

Televerde’s Workforce: 600 employees

How many of your employees have a criminal background? Seventy percent of our workforce is currently incarcerated. At our Phoenix HQ, 40 percent of our workforce began their careers with us “on the inside.” There are women who were once incarcerated in every business group and level in our company, including the C-suite. We do not conduct background checks for anyone coming to work for us and we regularly hire men and women with a blemished record (even if they have not previously worked for us while incarcerated).

How have Second Chance Employees benefited your business? We’ve brought women and men with a criminal background into the diversity and inclusion conversation at Televerde. For us, the experiences and backgrounds of these individuals contribute as much to building a thriving and more connected culture as any other marginalized group.

Because of our Second Chance Employment business model, we have a more committed workforce. Televerde is a company born in purpose. We’ve never chased profit at the expense of everything else. Our employees value the fact that they are a part of something bigger. They work harder and are more committed because they see their work directly impact the greater good. This is meaningful and helps our company attract and retain top talent, which makes us more competitive in today’s global economy.

What would you tell other companies considering Second Chance Employment? Today, 1 in 3 U.S. adults has a criminal background. It’s become an issue so massive that we simply cannot continue to ignore it. As the skills gap continues to widen and companies struggle to recruit talent, it’s become both a moral and business imperative to remove barriers to success and embrace this community’s potential. By evolving hiring practices and investing in disempowered communities – like individuals with a criminal background – we can help women and men start their climb up the corporate ladder, which will strengthen businesses, the economy, and our collective humanity.

To learn more, check out the history of Televerde and hear from the company’s Chief Social Responsibility Officer, Michelle Cirocco.

Follow @Televerde on Twitter and Instagram.


All the best,

Genevieve

Genevieve Martin
Executive Director
Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation

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