During the 2022 American Workforce and Justice Summit in Atlanta, CSRO Michelle Cirocco and other business leaders and activists discuss the state of promises of transformational change two years after the murder of George Floyd.
“We talk about diversity and inclusion, the fact that it is legal to discriminate against someone with a criminal record just blows my mind,” said fellow panelist Michelle Cirocco of Televerde, a marketing and customer care company which employs and trains currently and formerly incarcerated women around the country. “It’s legal to tell someone you can’t live here because you have a criminal record. We have a housing laws around discrimination, but they don’t apply.”
“From a business standpoint, I would challenge business leaders to think about how you literally create your own prison to workforce pipelines,” said Ms Cirocco. “There is amazing talent that exists inside those walls.”
Read the article in The Independent that was published on May 5, 2022 by Josh Marcus.
Michelle was also quoted in The Independent earlier in the week (April 30, 2022) about women fighting back against the ‘never-ending story’ of rising female incarceration and lifelong stigma.
She hopes more businesses back the approach of employing and training incarcerated women in prisons. This will allow justice-impacted people to get a new start, companies to access dedicated new employees, and communities to increase public safety. “It’s a model that works,” said Ms Cirocco, who herself worked with Televerde when she was in prison and went on to become a senior executive in the company.
Women who’ve worked in Televerde’s programs have a post-prison employment rate of 94 percent, and earn salaries more than four times the national average for formerly incarcerated women. “When you believe in someone and you give them the opportunity to transform their lives, you can see the impact that it has on someone,” she said. “To literally witness the transformation, to meet the women, to see what really exists inside of our prisons, the talent and the energy and the enthusiasm and the passion and love for life that exists in our prison when you actually unlock it.”