Working Fields aims to build a stronger community

Working Fields founder Mickey Wiles testified before the Senate Economic Development Committee last year in support of Vermont House. Bill H.261, known as the Ban the Box bill that prohibits employers from requiring the disclosure of criminal history information on an initial employment application. Courtesy photo.

Mickey Wiles, founder of Working Fields, is in the business of offering second chances and that’s because he was once on the receiving end of such generosity. After battling with addiction and a two-year stay in federal prison for crimes committed as chief financial officer of a prominent ice cream company, he emerged clean and sober and ready to begin anew.

And that he did with his work over the past 15 years as executive director at the Turning Point Center in Burlington and chief financial officer (CFO) at Burlington Labs. “Vermont’s opioid addiction problems have grown over the years and so have the treatment options available,” Wiles said. “It’s a chronic disease. And recovery is an ongoing journey with the critical component of employment.”

Wiles, 60, has developed a model of recovery coaching on the job. His newest endeavor, Working Fields, is a product of that development. It’s a mission-based staffing agency founded on the belief that individuals who are in recovery from substance-use addictions deserve a second chance in the community.

By working with Vermont employers, Wiles is placing individuals into jobs using his successful statewide recovery-coaching model blended with a temporary job placement agency model. “I have improved my life through long-term recovery, so I understand the power of second chances,” Wiles said. “Returning to work as a CFO was not a path that I ever thought I would travel again, but I did. Now Working Fields will help people from all walks of life do the same in their respective careers.”

Wiles’ past experience in both business and recovery uniquely qualify him to lead the growth of Working Fields. “I am driven by my passion to help those individuals who have made mistakes, have suffered the consequences and now are struggling to get that second chance in life,” he said.

Working Fields is the seventh Vermont small business offering on Milk Money’s Vermont-only platform, which gives Vermonters the opportunity to discover and invest in local businesses. “By investing in a local business such as Working Fields, you will circulate wealth and build a stronger community that fosters new relationships between businesses and community members,” Milk Money’s Louisa Schibli said.

Vermonters who want to learn more about the Working Fields opportunity can find investment details on the Milk Money website.