Heavy Vehicle Repair
Call center operations offer real-time marketing and communication skills that can be used post incarceration. This is a great foundation for developing professional skills needed to be successful in areas of lead generation, appointment setting, qualifying prospects, customer service, sales and data collection.
Organization: Televerde, Phoenix, AZ
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.
Organization: Trapp Technology, Phoenix, AZ
Challenge: David Trapp’s successful technology company was struggling to find new business customers for his security software. He knew of Televerde’s business model and was wondering if he too could create a B2B lead generation call center within a prison.
Solution: With no space available inside the nearest prison to Phoenix (Perryville, where Televerde’s call centers are located) the Labor partnership team suggested that such an operation could be created at the ASP Kingman complex.
This successful partnership began in 2017 and currently employees 12 inmates each day (on average) . There is currently 1 ex-offender working at Trapp Technology.
Organization: Arizona Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Department (MVD), Phoenix, AZ
Challenge: A very busy state agency that in FY 2020 served 2.7 million customers, processing 15 million transactions, inbound call from Arizona taxpayers run in the thousands each day. Making sure these calls are quickly routed to the office best capable of handling the customers’ needs. Keeping the seats in the first-level call center has always been a challenge with very high turnover rates.
Solution: Working with the Labor Partnership team and the facilities managers at the ASPC Perryville complex, an inbound call center operation was built out in which inmate crews could be trained to answer and redirect first-level calls to MVD. This successful partnership began in 2011 and currently employees 35 inmates each day (on average). The inmates in the program are learning real-world customer service skills.
Organization: Hometown Hero Project, Tucson, AZ
Challenge: Like most phone sales businesses, it is very difficult keeping new people on staff long enough to learn how to become successful. So management turned to ACI to see if they could hire an inmate staff that they could teach real-world B2B phone advertising sales skills.
Solution: Working with the Labor Partnership team and the ASPC Tucson complex facilities manager, a call center was built out and training was begun in 2011. It quickly proved very successful and Hometown Hero management began looking for space to expand the program. This successful partnership was expanded significantly in 2019 with a second call center within the prison. Currently Hometown Hero Project employees 100 inmates each day (on average) and 5 ex-offenders working there.
Organization: Safety Services, Tempe, AZ
Challenge: Begun in 2002 by a guy with a vision — and not much else — Safety Services Company has grown into one of INC Magazine’s Top 5,000 Companies for the sixth year in a row. “I knew that we could quickly become a major player in the untapped safety training and compliance market, if we could just reach businesses desperate for our services,” explained Devon Dickinson, founder and current board member.
“We looked at India, the Philippines and elsewhere, but the costs to start up a call center operation were prohibitive,” he continued. “I was familiar with the correctional industry in Ohio, so I looked to see if Arizona had a similar program we might work with to launch our business. I discovered ACI and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Solution: Starting with a small inmate work team of four in the Cheyenne Unit at ASPC Yuma complex, “the results, as predicted, were outstanding,” said Brian Goheen, Safety Services Vice President of Operations. “We quickly went to eight stations, then 12 and before we knew it we’d maxed out the capacity of the unit and expanded out into a larger space within the prison.”
“The inmates are consistently among our top performers,” Brian continued. “They are learning real-world jobs skills as they place B2B selling and customer service calls in modern call centers.” This successful partnership currently employees 30 inmates each day (on average). There are currently 25 ex-offenders working at Safety Services.
Organization: AquaChill, Phoenix, AZ
Challenge: Like many businesses that depend on telephone sales, management was frustrated by the very high turnover rate in their call center operation. The continuous hiring, training and monitoring of staff was a strain on management resources. Having heard that they could engage a reliable workforce of inmates, they contacted ACI to see if they could reduce their 90% turnover rate for staff in these key roles.
Solution: Since 2012, this successful partnership has operated in a call center within ACI’s administrative offices in Phoenix with inmates from ASPC Perryville complex. The inmates in the program are learning real-world jobs skills as they make business to business calls to sell water filtration systems. Before the Covid crisis this program employed 14 inmates each day (on average) and hopes to resume the program after the pandemic has passed. There are currently 9 ex-offenders working at AquaChill.