Ronnie rebuilds his life: Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO)

May 18, 2023

After spending most of his life in prison, Ronnie secured full-time employment with help from CEO.

of program participants remain employed one year after graduating from a CEO transitional work crew to permanent employment

After serving 40 years and with support from the Michigan State Appellate Defenders Office (SADO), Ronnie was released and working to rebuild his life.

According to Ronnie, “I went to prison at the age of 16 and didn’t come out until I was practically 57 years old, I was basically raised in prison.”

With cases like Ronnie’s, SADO recognized that it was going to take a whole community in order for Ronnie to establish a new foundation and he was immediately referred to the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), Detroit.

Ronnie enrolled in CEO’s program and immediately embarked on his freedom journey. He was an exemplary worker on the transitional job crew, excelled in his mock interviewing, received job start-ready status after one assessment, lent his voice to CEO Detroit’s newly formed Participant Advocacy Council (PAC), and took advantage of all the opportunities presented to him by CEO.

As Ronnie worked with CEO’s job developer, he completed an application with CEO’s inclusive hiring partner, Henry Ford Health Systems. Henry Ford was so impressed with Ronnie, that they hired him on the spot as an Environmental Specialist.

In reflecting on his experience at CEO, Ronnie shared, “For the first time in life, I truly believe that for each misstep, there’s an anecdote of hope and, for me, it has been the Center for Employment Opportunities.”