Absence of conflict of interest.
- The study’s objective was to examine the implementation of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) Transitional Jobs Program which provides transitional employment, job coaching, and permanent job placement support for adults recently released from state prison.
- The study authors conducted an implementation evaluation using baseline data collected at intake, state and local criminal justice data, child support data, employment data (the National Directory of New Hires), program data from CEO's Management Information System (MIS), survey data collected in year 2, and data from site visits featuring structured staff interviews and observations. Researchers also interviewed 19 participants.
- The study found that the program was being implemented as designed, with most participants engaging in transitional work and job coaching; many found permanent employment within four months.
- Results may not be generalizable. The authors also provided limited information about the methods and analyses used for the implementation portion of the study.
- The embedded impact study was reviewed by CLEAR in February 2016.
The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) Transitional Job Program
Features of the Intervention
- Type of organization: Non-profit organization
- Location/setting: New York City
- Population served/scale: Adults recently released from state prison; 568 participants
- Industry focus: Not included
- Intervention activities: Transitional employment, job placement support, coaching
- Organizational partnerships: State parole agency, local employers
- Cost: $4,200 per participant
- Fidelity: Not included
The Transitional Jobs Program intervention was implemented in one site: The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), a non-profit organization, in the Lower Manhattan area of New York City. The intervention and evaluation were funded in part by ACF, ASPE, and DOL. People recently released from state prisons were referred to the program by their parole officers. Some formerly incarcerated individuals in special programs like New York State’s “bootcamp” were excluded from participation. Participants began engagement with CEO by taking a preemployment life skills class that covered important topics like professional conduct and what to expect on job sites. Upon completion, participants were matched with a job coach and assigned to a daily work crew overseen by a CEO supervisor. These supervisors provided on-the-job coaching and evaluation to complement the in-office coaching provided. Work placements were typically in maintenance, repair, and janitorial work. People placed in transitional employment by CEO received daily pay at the end of their workday until they found permanent work or time-out of the program. In addition to on-site work, participants met with coaches at CEO’s office once a week to develop resumes, prepare for interviews, and address other barriers to employment. Finally, CEO employed job developers who worked alongside coaches to help participants find permanent employment. After finding such employment, participants were still eligible to receive job retention bonuses in the form of gift cards and Metro cards. Alongside these employment services, CEO helped eligible participants hone fathering skills and adjudicate child support orders.
Features of the Study
There was only one site for this intervention. Almost 1,000 participants were referred to CEO between 2004 and 2005 with about 568 being selected into the study cohort, the majority being Black men who were U.S. Citizens. Most participants were between 25 and 40 with some work experience. Roughly half of participants had a child and had a GED. The cohort was tracked for 3 years. Researchers used baseline data collected at intake, state and local criminal justice data, child support data, employment data (the National Directory of New Hires), program data from CEO's Management Information System (MIS), survey date collected in year 2, and data from site visits featuring structured staff interviews and observations. Researchers also interviewed 19 participants, though they did not specify their selection criteria for interviewees. The authors provided limited details about their methods for the implementation study, but they reported both qualitative findings from interviews and quantitative findings about participation from surveys and records reviews. The cohort followed in the evaluation only represented a subset of the people CEO was serving and the parolee population at-large so results may not be generalizable. Additionally, data collection occurred at the same time as program changes so some in the cohort did not receive the exact same services. There was no fidelity assessment in this report. Information on cost was gathered from annual expenditure reports and interviews with program fiscal staff.
- The study found that most people in the program cohort received transitional employment, completed mandatory preemployment classes, and engaged with job coaches. Many of them went on to find permanent employment within four months of first engaging with CEO’s services.
Implementation challenges and solutions
- The study noted that some personality clashes on job sites occurred but were easily resolved.
- The study found that some people did not engage with the program for a number of reasons including lack of interest or dueling commitments.
- The study found that CEO’s program cost was about $4,200 per participant, including about $1,000 in direct payments to participants.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The study cohort represented a subset of parolees so results may not be entirely generalizable. Also, changes to service delivery occurred mid-way through the evaluation so some members of the study cohort received slightly different services. The authors also provided limited information about the methods and analyses used for the implementation portion of the study.