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Diane Williams

President and CEO, Safer Foundation

Meeting of November 20, 2008 – Employment Discrimination Faced by Individuals with Arrest and Conviction Records

Diane Williams was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Safer Foundation in February 1996. The Safer Foundation is one of the nation's largest not-for-profit providers of employment placement and job readiness training exclusively targeting people with criminal records. Other educational and social services are provided in support of its employment programs. Under her leadership the Safer Foundation has incorporated the "What Works" principles adopting evidence-based program designs and evaluations. Under contract with the Illinois Department of Corrections, Safer manages two large adult transition centers with a total of 550 beds. University research acknowledges the success of these programs through low recidivism rates—Safer's employment program boasts a 25.8-percentage point differential when compared with the same year Illinois State prison releases.

Ms. Williams has an undergraduate degree in Education and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. She has over 20 years of management experience in the telecommunications industry. Since her appointment to the Safer Foundation, Ms. Williams has served in consulting roles for the U.S. Department of Labor, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Council of State Governments Reentry Initiative and the National Treatment Plan Criminal Justice Workgroup of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. She is a member of the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board, the Illinois Workforce Investment Board, the Governor's Statewide Task Force on Reentry, and is frequently called upon by The Urban Institute and other agencies to lead and participate in reentry programs and planning.