Center for Employment Opportunities

Center for Employment Opportunities

The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) helps people who have been incarcerated find and keep jobs that provide a foundation for a productive future. Its program has been shown to reduce the recidivism of recently released participants and to save taxpayer dollars. 

CEO offers a week-long job readiness class followed by transitional employment on one of its work crews, where participants work an average of two to three months before being placed in a full-time unsubsidized job. CEO provides job-readiness coaching, opportunities for vocational training, job placement assistance, and retention services to help participants secure and maintain unsubsidized employment. 

Forty-one percent of the program’s participants are ages 18-25. 

A randomized controlled trial evaluation found that CEO reduced recidivism by 22 percent for recently released participants. The study further found that CEO produced a total net benefit to taxpayers of $4,100 per participant for the entire study sample, and as high as $8,300 for recently released individuals.

Released from Conviction

Learn more about Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) and hear from a formerly incarcerated individual on how the program has changed his life.

Since 2003, EMCF has invested $31 million in CEO. In 2011, CEO received a $6 million, three-year Social Innovation Fund award from EMCF, and became a True North Fund grantee. In 2015, EMCF followed that up with a 42-month, $10 million investment.


Mike Price’s involvement with gangs and drugs led to several stints in prison and separated him from his beloved son. After his release, Center for Employment Opportunities helped him obtain a full-time job and become a real father to Mike Jr. Read Mike’s story.