2017 Giraffe Award Winner: Meet Margo Walsh

This post is part of a series of profiles on the 2017 Giraffe Award Winners. MCA is pleased to introduce you to Margo Walsh, founder and CEO of MaineWorks, LLC.

Photo Source: Tim Greenway via MaineBiz


As owner and founder of MaineWorks, LLC Margo Walsh employs Mainers facing extreme barriers to employment from formerly incarcerated individuals to people recovering from addiction. Maine Works helps Maine children, youth and families by removing traditional barriers to employment and giving parents the opportunity to provide for their families and ultimately succeed. Margo and MaineWorks provides a much need second-chance to many Maine families, which is why we are thrilled to present Walsh with a 2017 Giraffe Award for her innovative business strategies that work to make Maine a better place to be a kid.

“I would rather work with the intensity of the broken place. The vulnerable. The outcast…because that’s where grace happens—at the absolute bottom.” – Margo Walsh

At MaineWorks, Margo transforms her previous experience recruiting for Ivy League schools to recruiting employees with potential who otherwise might be left out of the job market. Founded in 2011, MaineWorks provides multi-skilled, quality, insured, and reliable labor to industrial construction sites.

While it is a for-profit the company, Margo and her company are also driven by a social mission. Along with meaningful job placement, MaineWorks’ employees participate in comprehensive social needs evaluation so that they can be directed to appropriate social services within the community. Margo approaches her work with compassion from her own life experiences and equips her employees with the tools to put their lives back together.

This work is essential to improving the lives of Maine children, youth and families – regardless of the situation. In our work, we know that parent well-being and family income can have a big impact on children. When parents earn enough to make ends meet, child outcomes subsequently improve. Margo’s work is especially important to the over 20,000 kids here in Maine who live or have lived with an incarcerated parent.

When a parent is incarcerated, that experience takes a psychological, emotional and economic toll on their child and family. As a result, we must do what we can to make sure formerly incarcerated parents can still reach their full potential. A report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, A Shared Sentence, recommends that states and communities implement policies and practices that help incarcerated parents find employment upon returning to the community so that they can support themselves and their family. A job provides a person re-entering their community not just the money to survive, but the hope for a better future, a sense of purpose and value. It also makes sense from a public safety standpoint, for employment profoundly reduces recidivism rates. That is exactly what Margo and MaineWorks does each and every day.

Margo’s work is extraordinary and it is our hope that more and more businesses follow her lead. There is no doubt that her work is making a difference for Maine kids.

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