The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) believes in a brighter future for anyone with a recent criminal history who wants to work.
Relying on highly structured and tightly supervised programs, CEO works with participants to regain the skills and confidence needed for successful transitions to stable, productive lives. Their four step process – incorporating life skills education, short-term paid transitional employment, full-time job placement and post-placement services – reaches formerly incarcerated people at their most vulnerable point, when they are first released from incarceration or soon after conviction. With a boost from CEO, participants are less likely to become reincarcerated and more likely to build a foundation for a stable, productive life for themselves and their families. Several studies testify to CEO’s success: a 16-22 percent reduction in recidivism and higher levels of immediate and long term employment. Local businesses benefit too, gaining a well-trained, reliable work force that provides the skills and work ethic needed to compete.
CEO was launched in Philadelphia in 2015, after a year long collaboration between the GreenLight Fund and state and city officials to identify the most effective, evidence-based models for prisoner re-entry. CEO is off to a quick start, working to reach some of the 5,000+ men and women who move out of Philadelphia area prisons. Participant Ahmed West is just one who knows how CEO can pay off for those who are willing to give it their all: “Go hard if you really want it. Nobody is giving you anything – they will help you get it but nobody is going to hand it to you.”
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