The United States is the global leader in incarceration. According to The Sentencing Project, as many as 1 in 3 Americans have a criminal record, and more than 60% of those are unemployed one year after being released. One entrepreneur is giving this unlikely population a second chance to succeed. Chris Cavallini is the founder of $10 million meal-prep company Nutrition Solutions. The company has become what it is today by hiring former convicts, homeless people, and those who suffer from substance abuse

Chris was arrested 17 times prior to his 18th birthday. He knew the struggle of bad life choices. But he turned his life around after he enlisted in the military and was given a second chance. He later went on to found his company  Nutrition Solutions. The company boasts high profile clientele like New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski and several WWE athletes.

Chris has built his company on the core principle that everyone deserves a second chance.

Rough Beginnings

From day one, Chris Cavallini endured hardships. His mother had him when she was 16 years old. His father left before he was born. Chris bounced from foster home to foster home. He was a drug dealer, worked at a strip club, and was making poor decisions that continued to lead him down a dark path.

It’s evident Chris has a soft spot for the troubled.  A majority of his employees are convicted felons, homeless, or have suffered from substance abuse. ”Because of my criminal history and past, I’ve accepted the responsibility to give people who have been through what I have, and worse, an opportunity to change and get better,” he explained.

Nutrition Solutions has grown 500% in the past 2 years by focusing on the importance of personal development and educating his employees on the practical action steps and mindset needed to succeed. This has shown him that many people are capable of change and contributing to society, despite their troubled past.

Daily Dose of Motivation

Chris begins each workday with a group “pow-wow” where each employee has to shake hands or hug every other employee. It fosters a culture of inclusion, support, and positivity. Throughout the day, he also plays either a motivational podcast or ebook over the loudspeakers at Nutrition Solutions headquarters.

It’s clear that dedication to the success and well-being of his employees is his top priority. “With the right structure, support, training and opportunity, individuals with a criminal history have the potential to be some of your top performers,” says Chris. “They already know what rock bottom tastes like, so they’re already internally driven to do whatever it takes to never go back to ‘that place.’”

By creating a culture that is conducive to the personal development of his employees, he inspires them to want more of themselves. Despite what their past may reflect, they work to create a better life and future for themselves and their families.

Dedication to Closing the Gap

For those with criminal records, there are far too many barriers that make it more difficult for them to change. Most individuals with a criminal record immediately get rejected from a job because due to a past offense. Chris admits that yes, not everyone deserves a second chance. But that it’s worth it to help the ones who do.

Jordan French is the managing editor of Grit Daily. He is a multi-media tech journalist on the editorial staff at TheStreet.com and a Fast 50 and Inc. 500-ranked entrepreneur. He is the founder of Notability Partners and the co-founder of BNB Shield, Lisbon Hill Farms, Status Labs, BeeHex, and Grit Daily. A biomedical engineer and intellectual-property attorney, French is the author of upcoming book, The Gritty Entrepreneur.