We’ve all been given a second chance at some point in our lives. But, workplaces aren’t always so forgiving. Televerde is looking to change that — attracting, training, and developing previously incarcerated women for the workforce.
Televerde’s training & employment strategy explained
We’ve all made mistakes. It’s an important part of what makes someone human. We can learn from mistakes and become better because of them. But imagine if you couldn’t — if you weren’t able to move forward with your life because of your past mistakes. Think of all the potential that’d be wasted.
When we think of second chances, it’s usually about something from our personal lives, right? Whether it’s a friend accepting an apology or a second chance at a relationship. Second chances at work, however, don’t feel so commonplace.
So, when it comes to the hiring process, why do we look to the past instead of the potential for the future? This is why Deanna and Televerde are helping incarcerated women find employment. They’re giving these women a second chance on life that so many companies ignore.
The blunt truth is that we all have our stories. How much of that story is known to the public, however, varies. We must humbly remind ourselves that we’re all susceptible to error — sometimes getting caught is the only difference between a fellow co-worker and the incarcerated.
”Think of it as the one mistake that someone got caught for, versus the mistakes that you, me, and others have made that could be equally, or even worse, that were never found out.” — Deanna Ransom
The hiring process
As a business model, Televerde has a partnership with the Department of Corrections in the areas where they work. There they recruit, train, and develop talent — teaching them marketable skills in fields such as sales, marketing, and technology; all while earning a fair market wage.
This way, they can start saving or supporting their families; once they’re released, they go on to work for some of the world’s largest companies.
“We have ladies learning how to code as you and I are sitting here right now,” Deanna notes.
So how exactly does the hiring work? Deanna shares the process:
- Going on-site: There are engagement centers within the correctional facilities.
- Coaching: Emotional coaching to help with the future transition.
- Hiring: Every candidate submits a resume and goes through rounds of interviews.
- Education: There are minimums to qualify but are built upon once hired.
Removing the stigma of incarceration
On a lot of job applications, there is a box you have to check if you’ve been incarcerated. In many situations, it might feel like a wasted application the moment a person sees that box. This is just one of the many examples that demonstrates post-incarcerated employees are a disempowered group.
When a person has served their time, the sentence shouldn’t carry over into the workforce. Criminal incarceration focuses on street crime — an offense that, according to the FBI, costs $15 billion per year. Crime that goes unpunished, often referred to as white collar crime, costs $1 Trillion per year.
When the system shows how subjective criminality can be, it’s unfair to assign labels that severely impact the future opportunities of the group that merely appears more criminal than the other.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many trends in the workforce — especially remote work. For the first time, many companies have had to trust employees in a way they never have before. Deanna’s hope is that this rising trust will translate into more businesses trusting post-incarcerated women.
Creating diversity in the workforce
It’s no longer an option: Businesses have to take active steps towards more diversity. Deanna shares two tips on how to improve:
- Intentionality: When looking at your portfolio, it doesn’t diversify on it’s own. You have to make the effort.
- Reflection: Ask yourself if your motivation for getting diversity in your company is quota-driven. If so, you need to revisit your motivators.
”Without a reason [for diversity], you’re just trying to check a box,” Deanna explains.
A key takeaway
Human beings are so much more than their worst mistake. The only way to help people make better decisions is to empower them with the opportunity.
We must remove the stigma attached to incarceration and let this disempowered group find a way forward. With the help of Televerde and the support afforded through remote work, we can finally give this group the second chance they deserve and create a more diverse workforce.
”This isn’t just a feel good kind of story. This isn’t just us helping people transform their lives. We are transforming business as we are transforming lives. And that’s the power of Televerde.” — Deanna Ransom
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