Since becoming an independent nonprofit organization in 1996, the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) has always relied heavily on data. We collect information at every stage of our program model, which enables us to better serve the employment needs of the formerly incarcerated individuals who walk through our doors. By analyzing trends over time and tracking progress toward various performance outcomes, we improve our ability to anticipate and adapt around what we know will work.
While CEO has a long history with these evidence-based practices, one key set of information has consistently remained elusive: the voice of our participants. That’s why CEO spent the early months of 2015 gearing up to roll out a series of Constituent Voice pilots in our offices in New York City and San Bernardino, CA. The goal of the project is simple: systematically ask for feedback from our participants, record and analyze the responses, and respond accordingly.
Now, over a year after our initial pilots, this blog aims to detail insights and lessons learned from our ongoing journey. We also believe that amplifying the voice of our participants is especially important in context with a criminal justice system that often leaves individuals feeling powerless and voiceless. That’s why CEO is committed to scaling this initiative across all jurisdictions while continuing to improve our ability to work collaboratively with our participants, to hear and understand what challenges they face along their vocational journey, and to make corresponding program improvements.