‘More Than a Background’ is a public awareness campaign launched by the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) to shine a light on the barriers justice-impacted people face in obtaining employment and limit the use of background checks in the hiring process.

The Faces of Hiring Discrimination


Air Force veteran Robert faced job rejection post-incarceration. With determination and support, he's now an advocate fighting against the stigma of hiring discrimination.
Read More

Dion L.

Born and bred in Cincinnati, Dion's passion for music clashed with the harsh reality of post-incarceration employment struggles. Now, as Jailbird Issy, he fights for change reform alongside CEO.
Read More


Left hanging due to a background check after being promised a job, Bridget, a mother of two, faced hiring discrimination. Seeking refuge, she found a fair chance with CEO to rebuild her life.
Read More


Marvin turned employment setbacks into a mission. Now with his own business, he's offering an equal opportunity to others facing similar employment barriers as a result of their criminal record.
Read More


Despite Rolandon's degree in electrical engineering, upon release, his past outweighed his hard work with employers. His experience highlights the urgent need for reform for justice-impacted individuals.
Read More


Two months into excelling at his new job, Alex was unexpectedly fired because of his record. He was ready to give up, but instead took advantage of an IT certification program offered by CEO and landed a job with a fair chance employer.
Read More


Benjamin's post-incarceration journey exposes the reality of hiring discrimination. When one door closed due to bias, CEO was there to help open another, offering a fair chance at redemption.
Read More

Dion J.

Dion's journey post-incarceration was met with barriers. Despite securing employment, he faced unjust termination. However, with access to CEO's impactful programs, he found a path to a fulfilling career in healthcare.
Read More


CEO's Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) equipped Criss with vital skills post-incarceration, including navigating discussions about his past conviction. However, despite his preparedness, outdated discriminatory hiring practices overshadowed his potential.
Read More

It's time to limit the use of background checks in the hiring process. 

Justice-impacted people continue to face substantial challenges in accessing quality employment because of their records, regardless of their qualifications. Plain and simple, it's not fair.

There is no reason why someone should be denied a job that they are qualified for when their conviction has no relevance to the work they will be performing and there is no legitimate risk to the business. It harms families, it hurts the economy, and it increases recidivism.

      Together, we can build a more equitable and just workforce. Join us.

      While the vast majority of employers conduct background checks as a pre-condition of employment, research indicates that they are ineffective at predicting future behavior, cause further racial inequities in the workforce, and may actually create unnecessary risk for employers.

      But there is a better way.

      Emerging trends in talent assessment, such as skills-based hiring and behavioral assessments, offer more effective and equitable alternatives to background checks, providing employers with a more accurate measure of a candidate’s ability to do the job and be a good fit for the company.

      Justice-impacted people are More Than a Background. They possess so many inherent qualities and identities that not only make them amazing human beings, but also valuable talent. They just need a fair chance to prove it.

      Returning Strong Podcast

      Season 1, Episode 3: The Weight of Injustice

      We explore with CEO's Americorps Vista member Rudy Buenrostro the effect of incarceration on families, especially their children, who experience a range of difficulties such as increased risk of involvement with the justice system themselves and emotional trauma. Listen to the full episode, where we talk about the unfairness experienced by individuals whose families are caught up in a system and discover how resilience can transform lives.