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CLEVELAND—June 12th, 2023 – Integrity Energy is excited to announce and celebrate our partnership with the Northeast Reintegration Center (NERC.) At Integrity Energy, we proudly stand as a recovery and felony-friendly employer, offering second chances and fostering career growth for all. Our employment partnership with the Northeast Reintegration Center began in March 2023, providing full-time employment opportunities for seven ambitious, incarcerated women. Participants in this employment program are provided a full-time job with the opportunity for promotions and advancement to help build a greater foundation for re-entry into the workforce.

Within today’s workforce, a staggering 1 in 3 Americans holds some type of criminal record—a figure equivalent to the number of Americans with a college degree. Despite efforts for self-improvement and repaying their debt to society, an estimated 60% of formerly incarcerated individuals remain unemployed for a year or more after release while those who obtain employment typically earn 40% less than their colleagues.  These significant barriers to success are the reason why the United States has such a high recidivism rate, which some estimates have indicated is as high as 70%, while Ohio’s rate is much lower at 32%. In Ohio, the female recidivism rate is even lower, about half as low as the male rate.  In partnership with the NERC,  our mission is to provide fulfilling, long-term career opportunities and ongoing support after incarceration, creating a pathway to stability, community, and financial security.

Drug possession and trafficking are the top two offenses driving Ohio’s female incarceration rate. The number of women in Ohio’s prisons has increased 600% since 1980, primarily due to drug-related convictions. The total number of women incarcerated for drug trafficking charges peaked in 2020, accounting for 26% of the female incarcerated population. Providing access to recovery resources and transitional services is the best way to counteract the tight grip of addiction. Our employment partnership with the NERC and our recovery friendly workplace provides a necessary foundation for enacting change, supporting recovery, and building community.

“Witnessing their journey from the initial stages to becoming confident and self-sufficient is a privilege. The joy comes not only from their progress, but also from knowing that we are contributing to their success upon release, providing them with a foundation for a better future. It’s incredibly gratifying to be a part of a program that fosters positive change and helps these women build a pathway to success, both personally and professionally.”

Tressie Hickey: The Sales Recruiter and NERC Partnership Coordinator at Integrity Energy

The women in this program have become some of our strongest sales representatives. Each participant is eligible for raises, promotions, and commission with Integrity Energy fostering their continued training and development. Each woman is also eligible to participate in sales management training as well as company-wide team building activities and business meetings – further building their personal support network and fully immersing them with Integrity Energy’s culture. The success of each woman in this program demonstrates how much potential, growth, and ambition blossoms when individuals are provided with professional guidance, stability, and a path to career success.

“I think in today’s day and age in America, I would say, everybody either knows an addict, knows someone that’s a felon, or knows somebody that should be a felon. So, to be as open minded as Integrity Energy, it’s a real second chance. This program really shows it. It’s not about what you did. It’s about what you can do. It’s about what you are now. I’ve honestly never seen it in any other workplace. Like, even ones that identify as second chance workplaces. I’ve never seen it to this sort of level. Hopefully it is going to inspire other companies.”

Amanda Cione: Sales Representative and NERC Program Participant

Our partnership with the NERC is more than providing employment and building job skills, it’s about creating a necessary foundation for the future while instilling hope and aspirations in our employees. Integrity Energy is dedicated to providing opportunities for growth, success, and longevity for anyone with a hunger for self improvement. The foundation created through this employment program empowers each participant to dream bigger for the future while providing a sense of security, support, and community for life after release. Tressie Hickey states:

“We recognize that the journey doesn’t end upon release. The structured nature of our program is designed not only to address immediate needs but also to provide a solid foundation for long-term success, fostering personal growth and sustainable positive change. I am hoping for the program to continue to grow. The current ladies are still here and succeeding. Some will be released soon, and I am hoping they decide to stay and continue their employment here at Integrity Energy.”

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