By: Augie Ghilarducci
I became familiar with the business term “pivot” several years ago. Occasionally, the decision to pivot is driven by a discovery of a marketing opportunity to solve a consumer’s problem; companies modify their product or service to fill this need. The decision to pivot is a catalyst to the evolution of an organization. Amazon famously provides an example by seizing a market opportunity to move beyond online offerings of movies and books.
First Hand View
I had the opportunity to be a part of an organization’s decision to pivot. When hired, the original plan was to provide training and development programs to companies seeking to increase performance and raise ethical awareness. However, by listening to the market and seeking to understand the needs that our programs addressed, we revamped the model. That began 15 months ago. Today our mission, vision, and values are clear. We provide Life Skill and Employment Readiness Training Programs to under-served populations:
- Currently and Formerly Incarcerated Individuals
- Substance Abuse Recovery Centers
- Workforce Development Centers
These are populations where our story, our message, and our materials resonate.
The result of this decision is a calendar that is filling with engagements and increasing opportunities to speak to groups that support our social mission. I feel so blessed, so fulfilled, to be contributing in a meaningful way. The feedback received by the sponsoring organizations and program participants is incredible.
To truly have an impact in this space, it became clear that we needed to become a Nonprofit. The Loyola Business Law Clinic has been tremendously helpful in making this happen.
The second part of the equation is for the refocused company to evolve. Our evolution included modification, customization, and expansion of our training programs. We became “boots on the ground.” We go to the populations in need of our services, including inside prisons and jails. Our high-level purpose is to equip our program participants with hope—and a plan—to find and capitalize on a 2nd opportunity.
Statistics indicate that 3 of 4 individuals released from prison will be re-arrested within 5 years. At the time of re-arrest 89% are unemployed. Employment is linked to a reduction in violence, increased self-esteem and pro-social behavior.
We have created a Social Enterprise model that identifies and equips employers to identify and support hires from our populations, with the ultimate outcome benefiting both employer and employee. The Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM), with 300,000 members, has made “Getting Talent Back to Work” a theme for 2019. This specifically refers to hiring Formerly Incarcerated Individuals. We are working to provide the “How” to this inspiring mission.
If your organization works with similar populations and has interest in our programs, please reach out. If you are involved in your company’s hiring and want to demonstrate social responsibility and at the same time positively impact the life of another human being, please contact me. Organizations seeking information can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our website is 2ndopp.com.