As CEO of Randstad North America, Linda Galipeau oversees the third-largest staffing organization in the United States, which connects some 100,000 people with temporary and permanent jobs each week. Among those thousands is a special group of forty-eight women: the first graduates of Hire Hope, Randstad’s pilot social program providing job training, apprenticeships, and placement services to victims of human trafficking and to those at risk of becoming victims.
The issue of human trafficking—and Atlanta’s role as a main hub for the sex trade—appeared on the fifty-two-year-old’s radar a few years ago, when she met with representatives from Wellspring Living, a local nonprofit dedicated to rebuilding victims’ lives. That meeting resulted in the permanent in-house initiative at Randstad. “What we have learned is if you really want to move the needle, you have to go in pretty deep,” she says.
Through Hire Hope, which dovetails with an existing Wellspring Living training program, participants receive a seven-week crash course in job skills, a paid apprenticeship, and finally, a job. Graduates have been placed within Randstad’s ranks, as well as at a few large companies in Atlanta; Galipeau hopes to take the program nationwide soon.
Meanwhile, Randstad maintains ties with each graduate through a lifelong mentor who helps her navigate the challenges of the workplace—challenges that can be tough for anyone, let alone a survivor of human trafficking. “So much has been written about women in general who do not put themselves out there enough,” says Galipeau. “You can just imagine what these women have been through. Their self-esteem is very fragile.” In this sense, the name Hire Hope is a play on words: For the women it serves, hopes have never been higher.