Center for Employment Opportunities
- CEO provides highly structured job preparation and transitional employment to individuals immediately after they are released from prison
- The model includes an initial 5-day pre-employment life skills course followed by immediate placement into a transitional job
- Participants work 4 days per week, with day 5 reserved for meeting with job coaches and attending specialized programs.
- Participants are paid on a daily basis
- Once participants have demonstrated sufficient progress, CEO places them into unsubsidized jobs with local employers
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)
Proven (highest tier)
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by the Department of Labor's CLEAR database
Formerly incarcerated individuals
$4,800 per participant
- 30 locations in 11 states
- Center for Employment Opportunities - Philadelphia
Outcomes and impact
- A 2012 randomized control trial by MDRC found CEO reduced rates of recidivism by 22 percent, reduced incarceration for new crimes by 25 percent, and created $3.30 in social benefit for every $1 spent on the program
- A quasi-experimental study completed by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services found a 19 percent reduction in recidivism, a 52 percent increase in employment rates after 12 months, and a 48 percent increase in employment rates after 36 months
Keys to successful implementation
- The structure, support, and pay that CEO provides to its participants as soon as they are released from prison is at the core of what makes the model effective.
- Partnerships with local governments--often through Departments of Parks and Recreation, Departments of Public Works, Departments of Transportation, etc.--often provide the support for CEO's initial transitional work crews in new locations.
- Strong relationships with Departments of Corrections and individual probation or parole officers ensures that the individuals who can most benefit from CEO's services are able to enroll.