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Michelle Cirocco, Chief Social Responsibility Officer at Televerde, joins the program to discuss the work that her company does helping women in prison learn valuable business skills, while also helping businesses accelerate their sales pipeline. Michelle shares her powerful diversity story, including how she ended up in prison, and how she turned her life around. Discover the business and social justice case for fair chance hiring, and some surprising statistics about fair chance talent.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • Michelle’s diversity story and how she first learned about Televerde (6:00)
  • Why Michelle decided to go back to school and get her MBA (17:30)
  • How Televerde helps reduce recidivism rates (24:00)
  • The importance of including fair chance hiring in the DE&I conversation (26:30)
  • The business case for fair chance hiring (27:30)
  • The difference in outcomes for workers with a criminal record (31:00)
  • How technology can help reduce bias in the hiring process (32:00)
  • How to proactively recruit fair chance hires (38:00)
  • The need to normalize the conversation about fair chance hiring (40:30)

Listen in now, or read on for the transcript of our conversation:

JENNIFER BROWN: Michelle, welcome to The Will To Change.

MICHELLE CIROCCO: Well, thank you for having me Jennifer.

JENNIFER BROWN: I got acquainted with you through an incredible, unusual invitation that I received from a friend of mine, an old client, Jackie Munson telling me about this amazing organization called Televerde. And you are the head of Social Responsibility at Televerde and I subsequently found myself on a plane flying to Indiana and then found myself in a room on a panel of fellow business owners, female business owners in front of a crowd of like 80 female inmates at the correctional facility there in Indiana and it was an incredible experience for me. I’m still thinking about it, reflecting on it, I’m very moved by it and will continue to be. It was just an amazing experience and you moderated that panel and I was able then to speak to inmates directly. I was able to see this incredible call center that Televerde is a part of at the facility and it was incredibly eye-opening, particularly their openness to the whole topic I talk a lot about which is diversity and inclusion in the work place and bringing our full-selves to work. And I know that the other business owners that were on the panel with me were similarly moved.

So, the whole thing was incredible. So, I asked you, Michelle to come on to The Will To Change because you have a really compelling personal story where you have straddled some of the world that I just mentioned in a very direct way in your life and that you have transformed and are giving back so tremendously. And I really wanted to bring to our audience as well, the lens on fair chance hiring and second chances, you know what the criminal justice landscape looks like today and why it’s critical for individuals with criminal backgrounds to be considered in the DNI conversation.

So, this is some of our Will To Change listeners know that this is a thread that I’ve been pulling recently to expand my own understanding of who is not included in our recruitment pools and what a tragedy that is and how bias actually screened out a lot. And we already know it’s screens out a lot of kinds of talent, but this particular demographic has some unique characteristics that I really want us all to understand more and to practice the inclusion of as many talented people as we can as we build more inclusive work places for the future. So, we’ll get to all that today but I wanted to, as we always do, invite you, Michelle to share your personal diversity story with the audience and I will just leave that as it is and let you take it where you’d like to take it.

MICHELLE CIROCCO: Thank you, Jennifer. It’s interesting when you think about diversity and inclusion in that context because it wasn’t until you said to me at the beginning of this meeting that you were going to ask me to share my own personal kind of experience with diversity. And so, it took me back very quickly thinking about it. And I, like many people, grew up in a small town in Western New York where I did small town, little girl things. I was in Girl Scouts, I went to church camp, I played in the snow, my best friend was the little girl across the street and life was very normal, very middle-class. And then my parents chose to leave the snow and move to Arizona, to Phoenix, Arizona.

And it’s when I got here that all my childhood awkwardness became painfully apparent. I was and I had always been, but it didn’t really kind of show itself in the small-town environment that I grew up in. I was an incredibly awkward little girl. I was very, very tall, very skinny. I couldn’t sing. I couldn’t dance. I couldn’t play ball. I really just did not have any social skills to fit in with the other kids and I was an outcast now, the new girl from a new town with a funny accent and I called tennis shoes, sneakers, and had a lot of other oddities about myself, besides the fact that, like I said, I was just really, really awkward to begin with, big glasses, crooked teeth, so I very quickly became kind of, I would describe it as the product of mean girls. Today there’s really a word for it and there’s a movement around it and stopping it and addressing it but it was bullying. It was bullying at its finest.

And so, I didn’t know how to fit in and I very much became an outcast in the school and as a result of being an outcast, I found myself with all the other outcasts, right? And so, the land of misfit toys if you were and so became friends. We created our own group of friends with all the outcasts which is ultimately what led to the future of my life and how I became involved with Televerde.

JENNIFER BROWN: Mm mm..okay, so yep. It’s funny and tragic how many Will To Change episodes start with stories of bullying and different and our earliest memories of being different and trying to find our community. So, thank you for sharing that and I’d love to invite you to tell us what happened subsequently as you went into your twenties. Where did life take you and how did that group that you put together inform those next phases of your life in a way and where did you find yourself professionally as you were early in your life professionally?

MICHELLE CIROCCO: Well, so those friends took me to a place where we were living on the edge of what was legal and not legal and in the process, I fell in love with a boy who was kind of the epitome of bad boys. He came from a neighborhood and a family where drugs and alcohol were the norm and he and I fell in love and somewhere in our youth and our idea of trying to have a better life we married very early, and because I didn’t come from a place where people went to college and had career paths, I became a bartender which was fairly common for girls in my neighborhood. And so, I was a bartender and had two small kids very early on and then I realized that I wanted more out of life. I wanted more money. I wanted a better house. I wanted a husband with a better job. I just wanted more and so, I left my husband, but I was still a bartender.

And I still had a desire for upward mobility without the opportunity to provide it for myself. So, I found myself creating my own with again, the wrong crowd which ultimately led to what most people would consider the worst day of their life and I did too at that time. My life had started to look a little bit like an episode of “Breaking Bad” and I found myself standing in front of the judge one day and thought that I was going to get a little slap on the wrist and get sent home with some probation. But instead he informed me that I had known the difference between right and wrong and as a result he was going to sentence me to the maximum term in prison that he could of seven years. Needless to say, it was shocking, right? It was the moment when I had realized I had lost everything. I had lost my family. I had lost my children, obviously all of my possessions, but more importantly I had lost my self-respect and I had lost my self-confidence and I didn’t know where to go from there. It’s really kind of, you know, I call it the darkest hours of my life.

But, when I got to prison I met with my counselor and he gave me some of the best advice that anyone has ever given me in my life. And it’s great advice for wherever you are and whatever you’re doing in your life. And he said to me, he said, “You know, Michelle. You can spend your time worrying about what other people think about you, worrying about how you’re going to fit in or you can use your time to become the best version of yourself.” He said, “I’m sure you did not grow up planning to go to prison, but you’re here now so you can choose to make the best of this experience and come out on the other side a better person as a result.” And it was brilliant, it was exactly what I needed to hear. At that moment, I didn’t know how I was going to do it or what I was going to do, but I felt empowered. I felt empowered to invest in myself and do what was necessary to get all the things that I had lost back.

JENNIFER BROWN: Mm mm… what a story. So, what were some concrete things that you did then as a result of that advice while you were incarcerated and maybe some seeds were planted in that whole process of what you would eventually do professionally, right? It’s so amazing to think about the full circle that you’ve traveled which we’ll talk about later. But, what were some of the ways you spent your time differently having been kind of given this frame on the time that you had and the choices that you had in front of you?

MICHELLE CIROCCO: Yeah, well, so the first thing that I realized was that, first of all I wanted my kids back and I knew that if I was going to get my kids back I was going to have to get a job. And I knew that in order to get a job I was going to have to develop some skills or get some education because the only job I had ever had was really bartending, and although I loved bartending, I knew that wasn’t a great path to go. I didn’t want to grow up and be a 40-year old bartender. That just didn’t sound that appealing. But I also knew that I had a felony conviction now and who was going to hire me with a felony conviction? So I figured the best thing that I could do was focus on getting some education and learning some skills. And so, I started taking college classes and I started studying and learning anything I could.

And it was around this time that I heard about this company Televerde. And what I knew about Televerde, it was a company that operated, that ran their call centers primarily by using women in prison and that if you got a job there while you were incarcerated and you were really good at it, you could get a job at their Corporate office in Phoenix when you got out of prison. And so, for me, I was like, okay, this is the thing for me, whatever I have to do I have to get this job. And so, I focused on the efforts I needed to do to get to where I needed to be, to be able to have that job and to get the job. And that’s really kind of what started the path where I am today.

JENNIFER BROWN: Mm mm. It’s incredible. So, you said a little bit about Televerde’s business model. Well, when you got out, did you in fact, get a job with them and what happened then professionally between that point and now leading Social Responsibility for the whole company which is quite the arc.

MICHELLE CIROCCO: Yeah. Well, so, I’ll give you a little background on Televerde to at least set the stage so people can understand what it is. And so, when I got to Televerde, what I found was they were a business to business sales and marketing company that focused primarily on providing sales and marketing services to technology companies, some of the biggest technology companies in the world. Companies like Microsoft and Dell and SAP were using Televerde’s services inside the prison to generate high quality sales opportunities for their sales teams. And, so I just started working and studying to be the best and there was an opportunity for a promotion to become an Account Manager while I was incarcerated and I got that promotion while I was in there. And when it was coming close to time for my release I decided that I wanted to go into sales. And through my mentor and my coach who was the CEO of the company at the time, got the opportunity to start learning how to sell, which, if you know anything about business and sales people, you know the sales people are the ones that are making the most money and nothing happens until somebody sells something.

JENNIFER BROWN: Right, right, right.

MICHELLE CIROCCO: Right? So, by the time I was getting ready to be released, I was offered a position here at our Corporate office as an Account Executive, a real Sales Rep with a real quota and real commissions and so, I came to work at the Corporate office, worked in that role and really from that point, there’s still some things that happened along the way, back to that kind of inclusion piece. I remember going to my first big sales meeting in the Silicon Valley, and I got there and there was all these powerful people, CEO’s and Vice Presidents and other Directors and Executives and they were all so smart and they were having these great conversations, and although I knew everything they were talking about, I didn’t really have anything to say because I didn’t have any experience and I was still lacking in education.

So, that’s when I chose to go back to school, because I realized that if I really wanted a seat at the table, if I wanted to be included in the conversation, then I needed to step up and do the work necessary to be part of it, to be able to bring value to what it was and to personally feel comfortable at the table. So, I went back to school and finished my Bachelor’s Degree and then went directly on to ASU to finish my MBA and all the while bringing this education back to the workplace which then creates value in the workplace which resulted in numerous promotions over the years from Director of Sales to Vice President of Client Success and then most recently, I was Chief Marketing Officer which is what led to where I am today as our Chief Social Responsibility Officer.

JENNIFER BROWN: Amazing. You’re reminding me of some of the questions that you asked the panel that I was on. You know this population intimately and I wondered, can you share with our audience some of the things you knew where on their minds and on their hearts that you really wanted us to address as women who have also strived in business, right? Strived to have that seat at the table, wrestled with bias and perhaps not in exactly the same way around the same things but there was such a commonality, I thought, in that room even though our circumstances were so different.

There was so much shared in our experience as women and I thought you really brought that out beautifully so could you just give people listening, what did you want to pull out in that discussion? What did you want the women to hear from a leader like me, for example? What was most important for them? Was it inspiration? Was it advice? Was it, “Here’s what the work world is like and here’s where bias exists?” I mean, we had so many stories about building our own firms and difficult things that have happened to us and how we balanced it all. Some of us had really dark nights of the soul and major challenges throughout trying to build what we’ve built. It felt like they were really resonating with that too. So, what do you remember about that and what was your goal?

MICHELLE CIROCCO: My goal in selecting the people to be on the panel and in asking the questions and guiding things the way they went is that I think all of us, particularly as women, have a tendency to believe that we’re not good enough. For one reason or another that we’re just not good enough. You look at everybody else’s pedigree, if you were, and you think, “Oh, they must have gone to good schools. They must have been brought up right. They have the perfect life. They have everything. Look at her, you know she’s perfect.” And, so then we think we don’t measure up, right, for whatever reason because of the worst thing that ever happened to us because of the neighborhood we came from, because of who our family is, because of where we got our education or didn’t get an education. We think we’re not good enough and we don’t measure up to everybody else. But what I really wanted was for the women to see and understand that everybody has a story. Everybody has a background and everybody came up through different avenues to get to where they were and everybody had to overcome adversity of some type and it’s how we deal with it.

So, even though as you shared, Jennifer, you grew up in Southern California and you went to really good schools and on the surface, you looked like the perfect pedigree, but yet you had your own story of pain and challenge and discrimination that you went through in getting to where you are today. And so, when people can see that and connect with others and recognize that, “Oh, if she could do it, by golly so can I.” That’s what I always would like the women to take away from their experiences is that they’re fully capable and their experience is not going to preclude them from being successful in their life.

JENNIFER BROWN: Mm mm…And tell us about that success. So, I know the model for Televerde has an amazing impact. Can you share a bit about the working lives of these women when they transition out of prison and sort of what they’ve gone on to achieve and any sort of success metrics for Televerde? Because I was so impressed with what you’re doing in the facilities that you have that Televerde has a presence in.

MICHELLE CIROCCO: Yeah. Well, I think the important thing to understand is really, first, is the skill set that we’re teaching the women. They’re learning everything from, it’s not just telemarketing or call center services. They’re learning sales and marketing skills and they’re learning to be business professionals and many of them are learning technical skills and becoming certified in really popular sales and marketing and business intelligence technology tools like Salesforce.com or Eloqua or Marketo. And so, they’re coming out of the prison and they’ve got a skill set that they’ve developed.

And then we’ve also paired that with the services from our 501 C3, the Arouet Foundation to provide them with what we call the wrap around services necessary to be successful, workplace readiness, financial planning, personal values, goals, as well as mentoring, coaching, leadership training, and it’s a three-year model that helps them to be successful as they transition out. And so, when they get out they can come work at our Corporate office. In fact, we have here at our Corporate office about 40% of the staff, roughly 60 people started their career with the company while they were incarcerated and we have people in every department at every level of the organization, including 30% of our leadership team, that started their career while they were incarcerated. They also then have the opportunity to go work for – Arouet partners with – local companies to do job placements for relevant positions for them or they can go on to work for our clients for the company they represented while they were incarcerated. For example, SAP uses us as a workforce development model to develop and train sales people for their Tempe office here in Arizona.

So, what this has done for the women of Televerde is they have, first of all, one of the metrics that we’re most proud of is the women of Televerde, the recidivism rate, the rate at which people go back to prison, is only 5.4% and if you know anything about incarceration, you go, “Wow, that’s amazing.” But if you don’t, to give you some perspective, the national average for recidivism ranges between 45 and 67% depending on what state you’re looking at. So, they’ve got the skills and opportunity to get jobs that enable them to stay out of prison.

The women of Televerde, we have a 94% employment rate for one year after they’ve been released which is phenomenal because the unemployment rate for a traditional returning citizen is 45% unemployment. And then better than that, the five-year salary for the women of Televerde is three times that of another returning citizen. So, they’re making three times as much as other people getting out of prison. And this is huge because as a country, most people don’t know this, some people do. We have actually become number one in incarceration. And that’s not on a per capita basis. We actually have 25% of the world’s prison population but we only have 5% of the world’s population. So, we’re just incarcerating more people than anyone else in the world.

In fact, one in two people have an immediate family member that’s currently or formally incarcerated so between you and me Jennifer, it’s definitely me. I don’t know about you. But this is a problem that’s really affecting our entire country. And as I mentioned about the recidivism rate, when you think about how high that is and the amount of money that we’re spending on it, 182 billion dollars a year our country spends on incarceration, we’re not solving the problem. So, we have to start thinking about this in a different lens. The number one reason for recidivism is joblessness. And as I mentioned, people with a criminal record have a 45% higher unemployment rate than the national average.

JENNIFER BROWN: It’s incredible statistics and you are making a dent in that but it’s a small dent considering the size of the problem.

MICHELLE CIROCCO: Yes, a tiny, tiny dent.

JENNIFER BROWN: Tiny dent. So, I do want you to explain about second chances, fair chance hiring. Why is it critical to bring individuals with a criminal background into the Diversity Inclusion conversation? I alluded to the pool of talent that’s been passed over and ignored and I want you to make the case for us. I know we have a variety of folks in our listenership. Many independent entrepreneurs, many coaches, lots of corporate people. And so, I think that corporate is a really interesting place to kind of challenge the norms around who is considered a talent pool and who isn’t.

And what gets in the way of us accessing this massive, actually talent pool? And should we be accessing it and why? And so, I’d love to hear that right from you. How big is this talent pool, number one? And it’s not just women. It’s women and men, right? It’s all people with that background, but what’s being done about that and where does the business world stand in terms of – I mean is everybody traveling the road that SAP is traveling that you shared about before or is it – yeah, I doubt it. And how can the listeners on this episode be thinking about launching this conversation, planting seeds, pushing their organizations to think broader about this?

MICHELLE CIROCCO: Yeah, so let me start out by, let’s talk about the challenge first. So, the challenge is that it’s predicted by 2030 there will be 85 million unfilled jobs in our country, in the world actually. Currently, we’re now 17 months that we’ve had more jobs available then we’ve had people looking for work. There were 7.3 million jobs available last month and only 6.1 million people looking for work. And that number’s only going to continue to get worse. We’ve got ten million baby boomers retiring every week. And so these numbers are just going to continue to grow so, if you’re in business you understand that it’s an employee market, right?

So, there’s a new term that I just learned that’s called ghosting that happens all the time apparently, that when you are trying to hire people. You’ll hire them and then they don’t show up for work because they got a job across the street or down the road for 5000 dollars more. So, there are so many jobs available that it’s really getting difficult to attract talent, right? And so, companies have to start thinking about how are they going to fill these talent gaps, particularly in certain aspects of business like the trades or entry level jobs because we’ve moved to a world where we expect everybody to have a college education and working as knowledge workers. Now nobody wants those jobs so they’ve become even harder to fill. So, when you pair that with the idea that we have 70 million people that have a criminal record in our country, that’s the same number of people that have college degrees. And that 70 million people, they have a 25% higher unemployment rate than the national average. So, there’s really an opportunity to start to think about this population in a different light and to start putting people who have been convicted of a felony into the inclusion conversation.

Because the one thing that I can do for sure, the only thing worse than going to prison, is actually having to tell somebody that you’ve been to prison. And so, when somebody who has a felony conviction gets a job and with a company that’s willing to invest in them and provide them that opportunity, they’re so grateful for the opportunity, they’re appreciative of the fact that they don’t have to go through the process of applying for a job, interviewing, explaining over and over again that they are more likely to become loyal, dedicated and engaged employees. In fact, a recent study from Kellogg University said that there was 0% difference in termination rates for people with a criminal record and they had a 13% greater retention rate so there’s actually evidence to say there’s a population of people that will be much more loyal employees.

JENNIFER BROWN: Mm mm. What a winning combination. So, what do you think the steps are for employers to get over whatever hurdles they might have, beliefs, assumptions, fear, lack of familiarity, you know, I’m sure the list just goes on and on. If we could just kind of dispel some myths and tackle some biases and who knows, maybe, we had the head of HR on The Will To Change from Checkr, the background check company.

MICHELLE CIROCCO: Oh, yeah, the background company.

JENNIFER BROWN: It was just incredible to hear about the way they’re using AI to literally like blind the candidate pool, information about the candidate pool from a criminal background perspective. And then simultaneously training their clients to go along with this and to say, “So we know everybody’s biased. We know which resumes are going to get screened out, right, by the humans in the process so if we use technology to screen these in, actually or let them be included and not screened out, you know then they have a better chance of making it through the job interview process, right?” It’s interesting that a technology can help us do this which is a theme actually for me.

I think that we’re very biased as humans and it’s very difficult for us to just sit here and say, “Well, I’m not going to be biased against that person or that person, right?” A lot of us don’t have the ability to even see it when it’s happening in us and also to correct it in the moment. And that might take years to get better about that and to do something differently. So, in the meantime, technology is kind of enabling us to help us in terms of what we might have used as criteria and sort of shifting that criteria. And I think that Checkr is having a lot of success in getting people through this process, at least further into the process. And then they’ve got to do change management work on the other end where they finally end up with a candidate pool.

Some of them have criminal backgrounds but then it’s a discussion. It’s like a structured discussion to look at, “Okay, when did this happen in this person’s background? What has happened since? What have they done with their time and investment and learning?” And so, then it can be, “Okay, let’s look at people as people and not just as an item on their resume that literally is going to mean their resume ends up in the trash. It was really, really powerful. So, I guess I don’t know what my question is, oh yeah, my question was, how can we get more companies to be comfortable with this to see the size of this population, this potential talent pool, the eagerness, the loyalty, the retention, the hard work, the dedication and the need for these jobs to be filled? And yet, this entire giant talent pool is largely overlooked. So, how do we connect those dots?

MICHELLE CIROCCO: So, first you reminded me of a story I heard the other day from a gentleman who works for the Society for Human Resource Management Professionals, SHRM. He and I were talking about the business model and he shared a personal story with me that he was a Director of HR for 25 years. And his personal story was he is African-American male, grew up in the poorest parts of Southern Louisiana, was discriminated against really his whole life for his skin color, for being in poverty, grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, everything, but managed to pull himself together, pick himself up, educate himself and get a job and he worked in HR. And he said for 20 years he would sit with that stack of resumes, that stack of applications and the first thing he did, the first thing he screened for was whether or not they had checked the box that they had been convicted of a felony. And all he did was pull them right out and throw them right in the trash.

And he said then something happened in his life and he realized something happened to someone in his life and they were forced to have to try to get a job after incarceration and were talking about it. And he realized that he had become the discriminator and he was just arbitrarily every single day throwing away people without any regard for who they were, what they’ve done, what their background was at all. And he was mortified that that’s what his job had become, was the number one discriminator in the company. That’s who he described it. And so, from his personal experience, that’s what I would suggest to people in business, is what is your screening process? When you’re trying to hire people, how are you gathering that information? Is there a box?

In the age of technology, from my own personal experience, I was recently being recruited for a position and was asked to go online and fill out the online application and when I got through the process there was the box that said have you ever been convicted of a felony? And now mine is 25 years old, and I was being heavily recruited for this position and so, I was like, “Okay, really? Does this really matter after 25 years?” But I checked that box and the system literally just said thank you very much for your interest in this position, but based on your background you would not be a fit for this role. And so, you have to ask yourself, how many people are you disqualifying though that means or through the means of the gentleman story that I just shared with you that you’re just not even getting the opportunity to look at the talent that’s out there and that’s available to you. So, I would say that the first thing that you have to do is just eliminate that from the screening process altogether. And then start out and find the most qualified candidate for the position.

And when you get to that point, then say, “Okay, we’d like to do a background check on you. Is there anything in your background check that I should be aware of?” And allow them to explain. Allow them to explain that it was something that happened 20 years ago, I did something in college or it was something that happened two years ago, but here’s what I’ve done. Here’s what I’ve done since then. Here’s how I’ve addressed that issue, and here’s why you should take a chance on me, and allow that person to have a human conversation with you about why you should take a chance on them.

And then additionally, if you have a lot of entry-level positions that you are having a difficult time filling, that you’ve got very high turnover, I would actually suggest that you consider pro-actively recruiting from this population and make it part of your business process. There are job boards like Honest Jobs and 70 Million Jobs as well as in your Monster, Career Builder profiles you can identify yourself as felon-friendly and actively recruit from this population. And then when you do that, it’s the same thing. Have the conversation but screen more for motivation and aptitude and values and cultural fit rather than the skills, because they’re entry-level positions. That’s why they’re called entry-level. And then allow them to explain why you should take a chance on them and provide them with the training and the coaching and the onboarding necessary to be successful and I know you’ll find that you will have a really motivated, engaged and loyal workforce by doing this.

JENNIFER BROWN: That’s such a compelling argument, and so obvious in a way and I really thank you for being so practical and giving resources. And I would add, you’re right, make sure the onboarding and the support is there for, we talk a lot about once you’re in the job, where the biases continue to happen and how deeply do you feel pressure to never ever talk about that part of your background, right? And so, we talk about bringing your full self to work and I recently am starting to add formerly incarcerated as an element of diversity that we keep deeply under our waterline. And so, when we say, “Oh, bring your full self to work.” You know, this is another community of identity that will very much struggle to do that, will absolutely keep it as quiet as possible, but it’s not unlike some other stigmatized identities too that people hide, downplay, minimize and downright avoid. And so, I do think too, when we think about the current workplace, as we succeed with what you’re talking about, I hope we could see a day when this is a piece of our background.

You know, that is something that is someday, and I know this is probably very far in the future but is more normalized to talk about. But it’s not dissimilar to a lot of the other aspects of diversity that we leave at the door when we engage in the professional world and yet we do need to talk about it more because if this is the direction we’re going in and we can figure out the front end of the hiring dynamics, we need to make sure that once they’re hired they stay, they thrive, they feel they can bring their full-selves to work as well.

And so, that’s another call out I think but it’s for far in the future because I don’t think that we’re nowhere near that yet but it is certainly, I anticipate it will be an emerging issue if we do everything right that you have been telling us about today. Which I deeply hope, I really deeply hope that our listeners will take this onboard, read up, know the dynamics about this, push for change in your organizations and take Michelle’s advice about how to speak about yet another under-represented talent demographic which we’re all about on The Will To Change and how we can right size our organizations in that sense.

Michelle, thank you so much and where would you direct people to find out more about the work at Televerde, other resources? Anything else you’d like to leave us with as we learn?

MICHELLE CIROCCO: Yes, so first one of the resources that I highly recommend is the Society for Human Resource Management Professionals, SHRM. They have a tool kit that’s called “Getting Talent Back to Work.” And they have a pledge for employers to take the pledge to say they’ll give all qualified candidates a chance and you can find that at gettingtalentbacktowork.org. From a Televerde standpoint, we would love to talk to you about how we can help you, how Televerde can help you fill skills gaps that you may have within your organization, either through outsourcing to us or hiring some of our graduates so you can find us obviously at Televerde.com. You can also, our 501 C3 does job placement and other services and has a wonderful golf tournament and is always looking for support as any 501 C3 is, and they are Arouet.org and Arouet is A-R-O-U-E-T. But if you didn’t get any of that you can just reach out to me directly on LinkedIn which is just LinkedIn.com/in/michellecirocco and I’ll respond to anything and get you to the right person and get you the right resources that you need in any way that I can.

JENNIFER BROWN: Mm mm. Michelle, you’re so generous and you’re really using everything in your story for good. And I really, really appreciate what you’re all about in the world and I’ve learned so much from you and the Televerde team and thank you for joining us on The Will To Change.

MICHELLE CIROCCO: Oh, thank you so much for having me, Jennifer. Have a fabulous day.