After returning home from incarceration in 2018, Maurice Vassar had a clear goal–find a stable, permanent job where he could thrive. Like 1,890 other people last year, Maurice was released from the Ohio state prison system back into Hamilton County, the second highest number across the state.

In Ohio, a released prisoner is given a bus ticket, civilian clothes and up to $75. Approximately half of prisoners released had been incarcerated before, and it is likely that 20% will return to an Ohio prison within one year, a number that increases to 52% within three years. The biggest indicator of not returning to prison is stable employment–yet folks face consistent and massive barriers to finding jobs when they are back home. That’s where CEO comes in.

Maurice said that he was coming to CEO so that he could “remain out of the cycle” by finding work and then working hard.  He went through CEO’s program- first a job-readiness training and then joined a transitional work crew. Using the skills he learned, Maurice took the initiative and found a job at Restaurant Depot. His hard work and excellent example initiated a relationship between the company CEO– since then they have had numerous participants from CEO join the Restaurant Depot team! In fact, Maurice became the assistant manager of his department in under a year’s time, and now has a whole crew of CEO participants working for him! Over the past year, Maurice routinely sought guidance from a CEO Retention Specialist and came in every month for his Rapid Rewards, a program to keep folks motivated and engaged after they leave CEO’s work crew.

Before leaving CEO, he said shared some hopeful advice to others and wanted to let participants know that “setback is the first step to success.” Maurice is currently still working at his job and has set his eyes on a new goal–buying himself a car! We are so excited to see the work and commitment that Maurice has put in pay off, and we can’t wait to see all that he will accomplish in the years to come.