Consistency pays off: Ras achieves 365-day employment milestone

Dec 19, 2022   |  By Emily Montgomery

This holiday season, Ras has an extra reason to celebrate: he recently achieved a year of employment post-incarceration.

“Staying in one job is a work of patience,” he said. “It’s good to not be in a rush and to be consistent with one job.”

Ras works as an overnight stocker at a Kroger in Atlanta near Emory University. He says he enjoys working in the evenings because he gets the daytime to himself.

His journey toward this job began while he was still incarcerated. His mother did a lot of research while he was incarcerated to prepare for his release, and in that process she learned about the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO). CEO is a national nonprofit that provides employment services to people returning home from prison or jail.

Ras’s mother recommended he join CEO, and a few months after his release in April of last year he went through orientation and became a participant at their Atlanta office.

But he didn’t just get transitional employment through CEO; while involved with the organization, staff members forwarded Ras and other participants job leads. This is how Ras learned about the full-time position he now has at Kroger.

Ras says he knew many of the skills that make someone a good employee, such as how to dress appropriately and communicate well, but that revisiting those skills at CEO was a good refresher.

Looking to the future, Ras is currently taking computer programming classes and is on the waitlist for a computer programming course at the local community college. He says that course will be a more in-depth study and after finishing it, he’ll earn a certification and be eligible for job placement assistance.

Ras added that he became interested in computer programming while in prison as he learned about technology advancements and opportunities.

Ras is thankful for the support CEO provided him and other participants. He notes that CEO staff provided many participants with transit cards to help ensure they could travel to the program’s office. In addition, he is grateful that after orientation, participants were paid at the end of each work day.

“It was a good experience,” he said. “CEO made finding employment effortless.”