Center for Employment Opportunities, 2020 ONE Awards Finalist

Linh M. Sasser, Marketing Coordinator, Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits

The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits (OKCNP) will host the 2020 Oklahoma Nonprofit Excellence (ONE) Awards on Friday, April 24, 2020, in Tulsa, Okla. In the weeks leading up to the event, we are spotlighting the 21 finalists in seven categories.

Center for Employment Opportunties (CEO) is the “largest reentry employment provider in the country,” with locations in ten states and twenty-seven cities, two of which are in Oklahoma, according to their website. CEO Oklahoma is one of three finalists in the Self-Sufficiency category.

According to CEO’s website, over 600,000 people return home from prison each year. With a job and support, participants have a stronger opportunity for success.

“When I first came to CEO, I was homeless and had nothing,” said an unnamed CEO participant. “I remember the staff helping me with a simple resume and practicing interview questions. It seemed like such a small thing, but for me it meant so much. They believed in me before I believed in myself. Now I just hope to be able to do that for others who are going through what I went through.”

According to the Sentencing Project website, Oklahoma is listed as having the second highest incarceration rate, after Louisiana. Oklahoma incarcerates 704 people per 100,000. The average incarceration rate is 440 per 100,000 nationwide.

CEO Oklahoma City opened in 2013 and reports serving 210 participants in 2019 and 195 participants the previous year. In June 2019, CEO OKC moved their operations to 501 N. Walker, Suite 160, and increasing accessibility for their participants.

CEO works a model to immediately provide their participants with work upon reentry. When a participant first reenters, they work four days a week on a work team that provides them with daily pay. On the fifth day, they dress for an office position and go to the CEO offices to receive job coaching, job-readiness training, interview preparation skills, resume assistance, job placement and retention services.

“CEO has helped show me I can be a part of society again,” said Larhesa Standridge, CEO participant. “I have a sense of accomplishment every night whenever I go home.  I have been provided with new skills to better myself and a job coach to help me stay on track to getting a job of my choice that my skills better match. Thanks to CEO, I am able to get a second chance at being a productive citizen.”

To learn more about Center for Employment Opportunities, visit their website:

To learn more about the 2020 ONE Awards or to purchase tickets, visit the OKCNP website:

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