Center for Employment Opportunities

An Effective Practice


Created by the Vera Institute for Justice in the late 1970s, the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) was established as an independent nonprofit corporation in 1996. It aims to provide immediate, comprehensive, and effective employment services for men and women returning from prison and other ex-offenders under community supervision in New York City. CEO offers a highly structured, job-focused model of services to nonviolent felony parolees, individuals on work release, and those on probation. The CEO model begins with job-readiness training, including classroom life skills training. Within one week of enrollment, participants are assigned to the Neighborhood Works Program (NWP), a transitional work experience program that provides short-term, minimum-wage employment. NWP work crews do maintenance, repair, and sanitation jobs for dozens of government facilities in the New York City area. Conceived as an employment lab, NWP provides job-readiness training so participants can learn the essential skills necessary for joining the workforce in addition to receiving a steady paycheck. CEO's Employer-Driven Skill Building programs enable participants to be trained in skills targeted to well-paying private-sector jobs at or near their transitional work sites. Simultaneously, through the Vocational Development Program, participants receive extensive job development services and are placed in permanent jobs.

Goal / Mission

The goal of this program is to help men and women who are returning home from prison to regain the skills and confidence needed for a successful transition to a stable, productive life.

Results / Accomplishments

CEO serves an average of 1,800 men and women each year and places between 65 percent and 70 percent of its graduates in full-time jobs within three months. The organization provides post-placement follow-up services for at least twelve months.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Mindy Tarlow
32 Broadway, 15th Floor
New York, New York 10004
(212) 422-4430, ext. 212
Economy / Employment
Public Safety / Corrections
Education / Vocational & Adult Education
Vera Institute for Justice
Finance Project
Date of publication
Mar 2003
New York, NY