ARIZONA NEWS

Foundation opens 2nd resource center for incarcerated women in Arizona prisons

Apr 20, 2023, 4:25 AM

(Facebook Photo/Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry)...

(Facebook Photo/Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry)

(Facebook Photo/Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry)

PHOENIX — A new center at the Perryville prison in Goodyear will give more incarcerated women a second chance at a career once they’re released.

The Televerde Foundation, which provides current and formerly incarcerated women resources and programs for personal and professional development to rejoin the workforce successfully, has opened a second Career PATHS and Reentry Workforce Development Center inside the Arizona Department of Corrections prison.

The center will have two classrooms where the women will be trained and become certified in customer service, inside sales and computer technicians. The women enrolled in the Career PATHS program will attend training four to five hours a day, five times a week for six months.

“The training that’s provided is a combination of virtual, in-person and online education,” Michelle Cirocco, executive director for the Televerde Foundation, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

The foundation has partnered with Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business to develop programing for the course and bring professors in to teach business fundamentals and communications.

“We use LinkedIn Learning, where they utilize those tools to do advanced customer service certification… they’re working on getting their salesforce certifications and then we use a variety of other curriculum providers to train them up in all of these different areas,” Cirocco said.

The foundation utilizes in-person and virtual class formats. The average starting salary for the women coming out of prison that participated in Televerde Foundation’s programs is about $41,000 a year.

“It’s a nice income that will enable them to start their life over and become financially independent,” Cirocco said.

In the past three years, the foundation has had about 200 women transition back into the community. None have returned to prison.

The foundation was able to expand its program through grant funding from Maricopa County through the Job Seekers Initiative. With the expansion, the foundation can now graduate 150 women each year.

“Within this building we’ll be able to run two cohorts at a time for a total of 40 people at a time going through the program in the morning and the 40 people at a time going through the program in the evenings,” Cirocco said.

The efforts to ensure success doesn’t stop after the women graduate from the program continues as the Televerde Foundation offers a pre-release reentry program that focuses on personal development, such as making good decisions, healthy relationships and financial literacy.

“We’ve partnered with PayPal and JP Morgan Chase for the financial literacy piece and then we do resume writing, interview skills, interview practice, job search strategies all to prepare them to get the job when they get out,” Cirocco said.

The new Workforce Development Center will officially open on April 28.

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Foundation opens 2nd resource center for incarcerated women in Arizona prisons