Truist Foundation Awards Center for Employment Opportunities $1 Million To Advance Social, Economic Mobility for Formerly Incarcerated People


CEO: Joseph Ellick | [email protected] | 305-879-6722
Truist: Kristen Fraser | [email protected] 

Investment will help thousands of people prepare for quality careers through reskilling, upskilling programs

​​New York, N.Y. (January 18, 2023) — Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), the nation’s largest provider of comprehensive employment services to people returning from jail or prison, has received a $1 million grant from Truist Foundation. The funding will support career advancement and create economic mobility pathways for people returning from prison and jail. Thousands of justice-impacted people will be connected to advanced training opportunities that will lead them to higher-wage employment after reentry.

“Justice-impacted job seekers have a lot to offer, but often don’t have access to the workforce training that can lead to a thriving wage job. The Truist Foundation award will increase our capacity to provide access to advanced training and leadership development for formerly incarcerated people,” said Christopher Watler, CEO's Chief External Affairs Officer. “This investment benefits employers, the community, workers, and their families.”

With Truist Foundation’s support, CEO participants will receive additional support services and access to:

  • Industry-recognized Information Technology (IT) credentials to unlock well-paid tech jobs that average $50,000 per year,

  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) certifications to secure employment within the transportation industry,

  • Foundational digital literacy to get essential skills needed in today’s workforce, and

  • CEO’s Emerging Leaders Program, an immersive apprenticeship that places participants on a team at CEO to further prepare them for employment in their training areas.

Participants in these trainings will be provided with a stipend so they do not need to choose between earning income and learning new skills that can unlock higher-paying jobs.

“Workforce development plays a critical role in the growth of every community. Truist Foundation is proud to support CEO’s dedication to addressing the unique needs of justice-impacted workers,” said Lynette Bell, president of Truist Foundation. “Reentry programs, like the one CEO offers, have the transformative power to give formerly incarcerated community members an opportunity to thrive and make a living.”

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About Center for Employment Opportunities

The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) provides immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services exclusively for those recently released from incarceration. CEO currently operates in over 30 cities and is dedicated to ensuring that justice-impacted job seekers have opportunities to achieve social and economic mobility. For more information, please visit

About Truist Foundation

Truist Foundation is committed to Truist Financial Corporation’s (NYSE: TFC) purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities. Established in 2020, the foundation makes strategic investments in nonprofit organizations to help ensure the communities it serves have more opportunities for a better quality of life. Truist Foundation’s grants and activities focus on building career pathways to economic mobility and strengthening small businesses. Learn more at