Charandip’s Journey: From Incarceration to a Union Job

Apr 26, 2021

Without CEO’s training and job search support, I would not have the union job I currently do. Last year, I was living in a shelter and now I have the security of a good job, my own place, and even savings!”

Charandip is a testament to the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity and create economic independence for himself and his family. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Charandip got into legal trouble when he was very young; trouble that followed him into adulthood. He spent a total of six years in prison at different points in his life and came to CEO in 2020, after his last two-year sentence.

As do over 600,000 people returning home from prison each year, Charandip found the road home very challenging. He faced serious obstacles to finding employment because of his limited work experience (he had never held a full-time job) and because of the stigma that most employers associate with a criminal conviction and being on parole. While in prison, Charandip had learned about CEO’s program, which helps thousands of people leaving incarceration each year to access stable employment and economic mobility.

Charandip made full use of CEO’s training and job search support services. He worked on CEO's transitional work crews where he earned a daily wage to support himself. His job coach helped Charandip to address any barriers that might adversely impact his ability to find and keep a job. Many people leaving prison lack even the basic digital skills necessary to create a resume or set up an email account, and may lack access to credentialed training opportunities like the ones available through CEO at no cost.

CEO staff went through a discovery process with Charandip to find out exactly what he wanted to do and identified opportunities that would best serve his long-term work goals. Once he was ready to start interviewing, Charandip could choose which positions he wanted to interview for with local employers. He could rest assured that CEO employers were welcoming of job seekers with past convictions because most have hired from CEO multiple times.

Today, Charandip has a full-time job at Guardian Services Industries Inc., where he is a dues-paying member of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 32BJ. CEO retention services supported Charandip through the probationary period. This support included CEO’s Rapid Rewards retention program that provided cash payments to him for providing proof that he was still employed.

“CEO knew exactly which job search channels to plug me into. When it came to applying for a union job, everything was facilitated by them, including support with the application process. I don’t think it could’ve been any smoother. By the time I got the interview call for the SEIU Local 32BJ union job opening, I was fully prepared and completely ready. And I got the offer!”

Charandip’s journey from incarceration to a good union job began at CEO, but it is not over. As he continues to write his own story, CEO will be there for Charandip and for the thousands of job seekers like him returning home each year.