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Center for Employment Opportunities gives people a second chance after convictions

Posted at 4:30 AM, Dec 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-06 04:48:57-05

CINCINNATI -- Jalohn Irby has worked at Graeter's for a little more than a month. He says it's a sweet job.

"It's ice cream," he said. "Everybody likes ice cream."

But there's another reason why Irby loves his job: He's grateful to have one at all after going to prison for felonious assault when he was 18.

"I used to box," he said. "That's why I got hit with felonious assault, because my hands were registered as a weapon."

Finding a job is tough with a record. A new agency at CityLink called the Center for Employment Opportunities -- or CEO -- is giving people like Irby a second chance.

"The whole idea is to get them a career, not just a job," job coach Donna Yuenger said. "Someplace where they can grow long term and learn new skills but also do something that they like."

CEO opened at CityLink back in the spring. They already have more than two dozen employers signed up and say they have placed about 20 workers in jobs so far.

"So far, it's been pretty phenomenal," Graeter's production manager Nick Hoskins said. 

Hoskins is Irby's supervisor at Graeter's. He said he's happy with the hire. 

"It was a home run right off the start," Hoskins said. "You know, he's just got this energetic attitude, positive attitude."

Irby said everybody needs a second chance. He's not who he used to be.

"I'm 25 now," he said. "I have one son that I adore and look forward to coming to work every day."