AccomplishED Ventures: educating the underserved
Updated: Jun 25, 2021
Today we’d like to introduce you to Travis Richey.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. AccomplishED provides educational, job training and hard skills for reentry and returned citizens. Our mission as a company is to fight recidivism and address the social problems of mass incarceration by providing the incarcerated population and returned citizens the job skills and training needed to succeed.
With over two million people behind bars at any given time, the United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. We spend over $182 billion dollars every year on the incarceration process — not to mention the significant social cost — to lock up 1% of our adult population. Yet, we spend less than $700 million dollars to ensure those same individuals return from incarceration with the adequate tools and resources to stay out of prison and succeed with their lives. With the recidivism rate north of 60% in California we knew there had to be an opportunity to deploy resources and real-world solutions to this overlooked population.
Since 2013 we have been going inside the United States prison system volunteering for various non-profit agencies and holding in-prison seminars on various topics such as entrepreneurship, fitness, and financial literacy to show the inmates there is hope for a better life, love from one another, and prosperity within themselves. After our first event, we had a flood of emails from interested Community Resource Managers at various California prisons asking us to bring our seminars, our energy, and our unique perspective to their institutions. And that is how AccomplishED was born.
Has it been a smooth road? The road to success includes failing with purpose – using failure and mistakes as a continuous opportunity to reflect, adapt when necessary, and grow from the lessons learned. As you could imagine, calling the prison system on their mainline and pitching them an idea to put a couple of unknown guys in their cafeteria with 300 inmates and “trust us” on the beautiful experience it would become was less than a warm reception from prison officials. The prison system is a very controlled environment – movement of prisoners and admittance from visitors is incredibly tight and respectfully so. The application process leading to an approval at a new prison can take months to help the prison understand what we’re trying to accomplish at their prison.
The prison system is jaded and understandably so when you work in an environment like a prison you start to see some pretty horrible actions. In the early stages we were constantly met with pushback from prison officials who didn’t want to spend the time on a new idea, especially one with no government funding. But our greatest moments come at the end of our seminars or events where after a day of connecting with purpose and action hundreds of inmates stand side by side clapping, cheering, dancing, giving high 5’s, hugging and smiling. We’re all incarcerated in some capacity in this mortal existence but more importantly, we’re all human beings with basic needs of belonging and purpose and that’s why we continue to push through the roadblocks.
We’d love to hear more about your business. AccomplishED was founded by Travis Richey and Andrew Medal both entrepreneurs who had personal connections to the criminal justice system and knew there was a need to bring real-world skills and job training to the incarcerated population. AccomplishED specializes in bringing job skills and educational resources into the United States prison system allowing inmates access to resources on everything from how to start a business, how to become a social media marketer, and how to start a retirement account. When we started this journey, we realized that if millions of people could be released from prison with a skill and sense of purpose that we could impact the recidivism rate and ultimately the world.
As a founder, I am most proud that Andrew and I have been able to go through the system and figure out how to use our time of trial and tribulation for the purpose of global good. We’re leveraging the time we’ve done to see a greater purpose for our lives and the lives of others. As an organization, I’m most proud of reducing recidivism and being a conduit to show people the ability to turn their lives around and achieve their goals and dreams personally and professionally.
Is our city a good place to do what you do? Los Angeles is the greatest city in the world and the greatest city to work within. Anytime you can make an impact in the lives of other people the ROI is substantially greater in terms of human capital and results than when the mission is purely about monetary gains. If someone was just starting out a business to impact the incarcerated and the returned citizen populations, I would suggest they become a volunteer for one of the many great non-profit organizations in Los Angeles doing amazing work in this niche.
Address: Accomplished Ventures, LLC 15021 Ventura Blvd. #1096 Sherman Oaks, CA 91403