Center for Employment Opportunities

At a Glance

National Office: 
50 Broadway 18th floor
New York, NY 10004
Phone: 212-422-4430

Sam Schaeffer
People Served: 
4,500
Tax ID: 
13-3843322

Focus area(s):

Job/Career Development
Asset Development
Economic Development

Description

The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO)  is dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated individuals enter the workforce. CEO works to ensure that people coming home from prison acquire the skills and experience needed to become self-sufficient, productive members of society. CEO has had exceptional success serving individuals at its flagship location in New York City and four upstate New York locations, and recently launched offices to serve people of Oakland and San Diego, California, as well as in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Impact and Outcomes

An independent research firm MDRC conducted a three-year randomized control evaluation of CEO that showed the program model made statistically significant reductions on all measures of recidivism.
CEO has made over 20,000 full-time placements in hundreds of businesses for formerly incarcerated people.
CEO has successfully replicated its model throughout New York State, as well as in communities in Oklahoma and California.
CEO has won two prestigious awards in recent years: one from Salesforce.com recognizing the organization’s innovations in data management and performance tracking, and another from the New York Enterprise Report, which named CEO the "Small Business Non-Profit of the Year."

Matching Gift

The SIF requires a 1:1 match of up to $4,800,000.

Mission & Goals

The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) is dedicated to providing immediate, effective and comprehensive employment services to men and women with recent criminal convictions. Our highly structured and tightly supervised programs help participants regain the skills and confidence needed for a successful transition to a stable, productive life.
 
CEO’s vision is that anyone with a recent criminal history who wants to work has the preparation and support needed to find a job and to stay connected to the labor force.

Program

CEO’s program model helps people coming home from prison enter the workforce. The model helps achieve these goals by providing life skills education, short-term paid transitional employment, full-time job placement, and post-placement services. Addressing the employment needs of people with criminal convictions through the CEO model makes them less likely to become re-incarcerated and more likely to build a foundation for a stable, productive life for themselves and their families.

CEO’s program includes the following services:

Job Readiness Training that addresses behavioral and skills gaps related to getting a job

Paid Transitional Work that provides immediate, time-limited work and an environment to evaluate participants' ability to be on time, communicate, take direction, and be productive

Job Placement Services that assist clients to secure unsubsidized employment with private employers based on their skill levels and preferences, and the needs of employers

Post-Placement Support  for up to one year, with incentives that encourage participants to remain employed, as well as assistance in the event of a layoff or other circumstances

Additional Support Services that enable participants to get and keep jobs, such as financial literacy, skills training and mental health screening are provided at CEO’s NYC flagship as well as select program sites across the country. For individuals who demonstrate an excellent work record and have an aptitude and interest in the skilled trades, CEO offers educational opportunities in partnership with community colleges and other vocational training providers, where participants can receive training and certification in various industries including construction, warehouse operations and logistics, and food service.

Impact

IMPACT

In 2004, CEO participated in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project. As part of this project, the independent evaluator MDRC conducted a three year random assignment evaluation of CEO which also included a sophisticated benefit-cost analysis.  CEO was the only site in the Hard-to-Employ project that focused exclusively on people with criminal records.   

The evaluation of CEO is one of the most rigorous tests of an employment program for former prisoners in recent years. The three-year evaluation found that CEO significantly reduced recidivism. The largest impacts occurred among former prisoners who enrolled shortly after release from prison, the core group of people targeted by CEO.  

The Study Design

Former prisoners were referred to CEO by their parole officers. Study enrollment was conducted between January 2004 and October 2005 and resulted in a sample of 977 former prisoners: 568 in the program group and 409 in the control group. Because the study’s sample members were assigned at random to one group or the other, the two groups, on average, were similar with regard to all personal characteristics at the start of the study. Therefore, one can be confident that any statistically significant differences in outcomes that emerge between the groups over time can be attributed to CEO’s program.

The Study Sample

By far, most of the sample members were male, and most were African-American or Hispanic. On average, sample members were 34 years old when they enrolled in the study; 43 percent were age 30 or younger. Just over half the sample had completed a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate (most of these had a GED). About half the study sample had at least one child under age 18, but only a small number lived with any of their children. Nearly one in five (19.3 percent) had a formal child support order. Most had worked in the past, but only three out of five had ever worked six consecutive months for a single employer.

The sample members had extensive histories with the criminal justice system, with an average of seven prior convictions and a total of five years in state prison. Nearly 70 percent of the sample members had prior arrests for violent offenses, and 51 percent had been convicted of a violent offense. Nearly three-quarters of the sample had prior convictions for drug-related offenses.  All were under parole supervision when they entered the study.

The Results: Program Impact

CEO significantly reduced recidivism with the largest impacts for the group of participants recently released from prison. This group was significantly less likely than control group members to be arrested (49 percent, compared with 59 percent); convicted of a crime (44 percent, compared with 57 percent); or incarcerated (60 percent, compared with 71 percent). These impacts represent a reduction in recidivism of 16 to 22 percent across the three outcomes. Such reductions in recidivism are difficult to achieve and have rarely been seen in rigorous evaluations similar to this one.

CEO substantially increased employment early on; for the recently released subgroup CEO had some positive impacts on post program employment but the effects faded over time for the overall sample. First year improvements in employment outcomes were substantial (24.5 percentage points) driven by participation in transitional jobs.  In years two and three, on average, recently released program group members had more quarters with unsubsidized employment than their control group counterparts (19 percent of program group members worked seven or eight quarters, compared with 11 percent of the control group). Program group members were also more likely than control group members to have six or more consecutive quarters with unsubsidized employment in the two years after they left CEO.

In addition to those recently released from prison, CEO’s impacts on employment and recidivism were stronger for those who were more disadvantaged or at higher risk of recidivism. The subgroups with the largest impacts on employment and recidivism include those with four or more prior convictions, those without a high school diploma or GED, and those with a high risk of recidivism (based on a risk index determined by age, number of prior convictions, and other static factors) at the time of random assignment. Among the subgroup with four or more prior convictions at the time of study entry, CEO reduced convictions for new crimes by 12.8 percentage points. For CEO participants without a high school diploma and for those considered to be at high risk of recidivism, there was a reduction in the number of days spent incarcerated. For those at high risk of recidivism, post-program (years 2-3) average quarterly unsubsidized employment increased by 11 percentage points (27 percent of program group members compared to 16 percent of the control group).

The Results: Cost Benefit Impact

CEO’s financial benefits far outweigh its costs. The financial benefits of CEO were as high as $3.85 for every $1 invested in the program.  Put another way, the total financial benefits equaled $10,300 per person served.  Total financial benefits include benefits to taxpayers, victims, and program participants.  The majority of benefits to taxpayers came in the form of reduced criminal justice system expenditures, primarily due to lower prison costs, but also reductions in the cost of jail and other parts of the system. Another large savings is associated with the value of services that CEO participants provided to government agencies through the transitional job work sites, meaning without CEO, government would have had to pay for these services through other means. When viewed through the lens of taxpayer benefits only, the financial benefits of CEO were still as high as $3.30 for every $1 invested in the program, or $8,300 in savings for every person served. 

Model Fidelity

To ensure these results are replicated in CEO’s expansion sites, MDRC created and administered a  fidelity assessment that determines whether key components of the model are consistently applied. A fidelity study of four CEO sites was conducted between 2013-2014. The findings were released by MDRC in January 2016 and showed they had achieved strong fidelity to the CEO model.

Growth Plan

In 2016 CEO launched a new five-year strategic plan that established a vision for further expansion, program innovation, and increased policy impact. CEO’s current plan sets a course to more than double the organization’s size to serve 11,000 men and women each year, while addressing many of the key learnings from its last decade of research, evaluation, and growth. 

Location of Sites

National Office: 
50 Broadway 18th floor
New York, NY 10004
Phone: 212-422-4430
List of locations

To make a contribution to a program site:

  1. Click on the "Make a Contribution Now" button and include the name, city and state of the program you would like to support, in the "notes" text box on the organization's donation form, if available.
  2. If a "notes" or "designation" box is not available, write the city and state on your check in the "notes" section or call the national office to designate your contribution to a local program site.

Locations in the following states:

No results found.

Financials

Most Recent Budget

Year Ended:

2016

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$70,000
Foundation Grants: 
$5,375,820
Government Funding: 
$23,070,965
Contributions from Individuals: 
$74,824
Special Events: 
$0
Program Services Fees: 
$0
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$0
Total Revenue: 
$28,591,609

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$22,112,687
Occupancy: 
$1,901,354
Travel & Entertainment: 
$611,133
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$435,203
Telephone & Communications: 
$407,814
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$2,640,000
Other Expenses (Description): 

Office equipment, publications and subscriptions, training, liability insurance, interest, conferences, participant activities, participant incentives, bad debt, misc. expense, depreciation

Other Expenses (Description): 

Other Expenses (Description): 

Total Expenses: 
$28,108,191

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain/Loss: 
$483,418

Prior Year Actuals

Year Ended:

2015

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$271,000
Foundation Grants: 
$5,800,828
Government Funding: 
$19,895,262
Contributions from Individuals: 
$85,134
Program Services Fees: 
$0
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$12,369
Other Revenue (Description): 
Interest and other income
Special Events: 
$0
Total Revenue: 
$26,064,593

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$19,958,128
Occupancy: 
$1,725,305
Travel & Entertainment: 
$555,276
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$377,335
Telephone & Communication: 
$346,939
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$2,617,870
Other Expenses (Description): 

Office equipment, publications and subscriptions, training, liability insurance, interest, conferences, participant activities, participant incentives, bad debt, misc. expense, depreciation

Total Expenses: 
$25,580,853

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain / Loss: 
$483,740

Major Funders

Accenture

American Express Foundation

Annenberg Foundation

Bank of America Charitable Foundation

Booth Ferris Foundation

California Wellness Foundation

Capital One Foundation

Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation

Clark Foundation

Community Foundation of Riverside/San Bernardino

Curaterra Foundation

S.H. Cowell Foundation

Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation

East Bay Community Foundation

Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

 

Fidelity Charitable

 

Flint Family Foundation

 

Fund for Shared Insight

 

E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation

 

Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation

Green Light Fund

Inasmuch Foundation

George Kaiser Family Foundation

Hudiburg Auto Group

Kirkpatrick Family Fund

Kresge Foundation

Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City

Henry and Lucy Moses Fund

New York Community Trust

Nonprofit Finance Fund

Oak Foundation

John R. Oishei Foundation

REDF

Robin Hood Foundation

San Diego Women’s Foundation

San Francisco Foundation

Frank V. Sica & Colleen McMahon Foundation

 

San Diego Women’s Foundation

 

Smart Family Foundation

Tiger Foundation

Tipping Point Community Foundation

Tulsa Area United Way

United Way of Buffalo and Erie County

United Way of Central Oklahoma

United Way of the Greater Capital Region

Van Ameringen Foundation

Walter and Elise Haas Foundation

Weingart Foundation

Wright Family Foundation

Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation