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Televerde, Phoenix, AZ

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Challenge: In 1995 James Hooker was running a successful technology company and believed that the high-end (C-level) B2B (business to business) lead generation techniques that he’d developed could be used effectively in related industries. To make the switch to a marketing/lead generation company, he knew he needed a vast pool of call center talent that he could train. At the time, most such talent was found overseas and he wanted to keep his business local.

Solution: Working with the Labor Partnership team and the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry (ADCRR), space was found in the woman’s prison in downtown Phoenix where an 8 seat call center could be set up. After evaluating the potential pool of inmates he could train in his lead generation techniques and the costs of creating the call center within the prison, James decided to make the necessary investment and test out his theory that incarcerated women could be taught how to be dynamic sales professionals.

He was quickly proven right and the program expanded regularly during the next two decades, moving to the new women’s prison at the ASPC Perryville complex, where three separate call center spaces were created.

Prior to the Covid crisis this successful partnership has attracted much positive attention for the program, which employed 230 inmates each day (on average) prior to Covid, down to about 190 now. Televerde research of the inmates who have worked with them the last two decades maintains that the recidivism rate is less than 10% (compared to the State rate of 40%). There are currently 75 ex-offenders working at Televerde, they have found their calling.

“The collaboration between Televerde, ACI and the Arizona Department of Corrections is strengthened every year because of our combined commitment to provide the skills, resources and educational opportunities that women need to successfully reenter society as leaders, caregivers, innovators and business professionals. This work has a ripple effect because when we empower women, we strengthen families, our communities, and the economy. Our success in reducing recidivism is why other states are eager to bring this model into their correctional facilities. We look forward to growing our partnership with ACI so we can provide even more life-changing opportunities to women.”
– Vince Barsolo, Chief Strategy Officer, Televerde

Partnership: