GreenLight Cincinnati to bring Center for Employment Opportunities to town

CEO helps ex-inmates others view as 'unfixable'

CINCINNATI -- Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty. GreenLight is investing $600,000 to bring the organization to town.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

While Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them is as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said. Noland expects the organization will serve 150 individuals during its first year in Cincinnati.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The work sites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing people who have been incarcerated by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati soon will have a new strategy to help people returning from prison find paths for a better future.

New York-based Center for Employment Opportunities will open an office here with the help of GreenLight Cincinnati, which last March pledged to bring innovative nonprofits to the region to help reduce poverty.

RELATED: New poverty-fighting tool coming to Cincinnati

Center for Employment Opportunities specializes in helping the most difficult-to-serve former inmates by providing them jobs where they can earn a daily paycheck and learn what employers expect before they move on to better-paying opportunities.

"Young people who have multiple felony convictions, who have not completed high school and have not worked before -- we know those are the folks who are really going to struggle in the labor market," said Sam Schaeffer, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Sam Schaeffer

 

Center for Employment Opportunities, known as CEO, plans to open an office at CityLink Center in Cincinnati's West End where it will work with other nonprofits that provide services such as financial education, advanced job training and affordable transportation.

"When CEO goes into a new town, they're walking in and they're having to assemble counseling support, financial education support, and they're having to create connections to the employer community," said Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink Center's executive director. "All of those pieces they typically have to assemble are already here."

GreenLight Cincinnati selected CEO as the first nonprofit to bring to the region "because of its track record for results and its potential here," said Tara Noland, GreenLight Cincinnati's executive director.

"Their track record for success in reducing recidivism is truly unparalleled in this field," Noland said. "When that cycle is broken, families start to heal."

2,500 job placements per year

Nearly 1,900 men and women returned to Hamilton County from the state penitentiary system in 2014, Noland said. That was the second highest number of returning citizens in the state behind Cleveland, she said.

And while Cincinnati already has a number of nonprofits and initiatives that are working to help ex-inmates get the training and jobs they need to rebuild their lives, none of them are as laser-focused on helping people as soon as they get out of prison, Noland said.

CEO tries to start working with returning citizens within 90 days of their release from prison, Schaeffer said.

People who participate in the program go through a one-week job-training program where they get meals and help paying for transportation if needed.

They start getting paid as soon as they start work the next week. They earn minimum wage, are docked if they are late and get paid daily so they can go home with money in their pockets to contribute to their families, Schaeffer said.

CEO clients get job-training and counseling.

 

The jobs at CEO come through contracts that the organization signs with local and state governments. In other CEO locations, for example, the nonprofit has contracts to provide litter pickup or landscaping services along highways for state transportation departments or local parks.

The worksites give participants a chance to learn on the job and prove that they know how to get to work on time and follow directions from a supervisor. The men and women work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for other, better-paying employment, Schaeffer said.

People typically work for CEO for 25 to 30 days over several weeks before they find their next jobs, he said.

CEO makes about 2,500 job placements each year at its various locations. The organization has reduced re-arrests and re-convictions by 22 percent as compared to a control group, he said. And the program has shown a 30 percent reduction in the number of days people spend in jail or prison.

Not only that, but a third-party research firm determined that for every $1 invested in CEO, taxpayers save $3.30, Schaeffer said.

'It's like you're unfixable'

Schaeffer said his organization expects to work closely with Cincinnati Works, which also has an office at CityLink Center.

Cincinnati Works operates the Phoenix Program, which also helps people with criminal records get jobs.

But the Phoenix Program typically does not work with people who are just getting out of prison, said Cincinnati Works President Peggy Zink.

That makes CEO a good complement to what Cincinnati Works already is doing with the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, a group of companies focused on expanding opportunities for "returning citizens," she said.

"Since we're already involved and already working with a number of employers with Beacon of Hope, CEO will plug into our employer network," Zink said. "It's a really exciting opportunity to be able to really leverage the strengths of both of our organizations and not have to duplicate efforts."

The key to success will be connecting people with jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves and their families, said Dominic Duren, coordinator of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Re-entry Program who served time in prison himself years ago.

Duren said he is anxious to learn more about CEO and its strategy and hopes that the program leads to living-wage work rather than more minimum-wage jobs or positions with temporary agencies.

Dominic Duren knows from experience how difficult it can be to get a job after prison.

 

"My thing is to try to train people for quality and to have connections," he said. "A living wage is what we're really trying to strive for."

Duren said he's especially pleased that CEO aims to work with some of the most difficult people to help.

"A lot of people don't want to deal with the people that nobody else wants to deal with. It's like you're unfixable," he said. "It's really about trying to connect people with positive situations so they can transform their lives and really start working their way out of poverty."

A lot of new connections could be happening here before long.

Schaeffer said if all goes as planned, CEO should be up and running and employing former inmates by the middle of 2017.

More information about GreenLight Cincinnati is available online.

More information about CEO is available online, too.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and also shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

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