In The News
CEO SAN DIEGO
CEO San Diego opened in November 2011 to break the cycle of reincarceration and stem the persistence of poverty by addressing the immediate and long-term income needs of San Diego's formerly incarcerated population. Our program is designed to develop and promote self-sufficiency through job readiness training, employment experience, cognitive-behavioral interventions, vocational certifications, assistance with all aspects of the employment application process, and retention services once employed with businesses in the community.
CEO San Diego is the largest non-profit employer of justice-involved individuals within the region, providing nearly 400 unique individuals with income earning transitional jobs immediately upon enrollment into our program. This is accomplished by our wonderful staff of 33 individuals on an annual budget of approximately $7 million.
Our re-entry employment services are part of a larger eort toward responsible and inclusive development, as CEO is ultimately working to improve our environment and economies of the cities we serve. During our most recent fiscal year (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020), CEO has had the following impact within San Diego County.
Rob Smith is the Site Director of our San Diego office, overseeing all aspects of the Social Enterprise and our vocational services. Rob has 20 years experience as a nonprofit leader, specifically focused in underserved communities. He is also a lived experience expert in understanding the challenges of extreme poverty, domestic violence, sexual assault, drug addiction and incarceration from early childhood until his release from state prison in 2000 that was the existence of his life. Overseeing the CEO office in San Diego Robert has been able to combine the best of both his worlds; his relentless hustle and grind mentality has propelled San Diego’s office to the second largest site next to NYC; his deep understanding of and ability to partner/broker between justice involved communities and public systems has contributed to expanding San Diego CEO’s footprint across the local region.
Social Enterprise Operations Manager
Claire Brown is the Manager of Social Enterprise Operations at CEO San Diego. Her team of 25 full-time staff provide transitional work opportunities to hundreds of program participants annually through partnerships with Caltrans and the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department. She has worked in the criminal justice space with the Orleans Public Defenders, done microenterprise consulting with Fund 17, and supported social enterprise incubation with the Deshpande Foundation India. In her spare time she enjoys exploring the outdoors and tending to her plant babies. She holds a BA in Political Science and Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship from Tulane University.
Mary Harmer is the Program Manager at CEO San Diego. She supports the team’s effective delivery of vocational services offered to participants. She joined CEO San Diego in 2014 as an intern and served four years in the role of retention specialist, supporting participants to maintain employment in the community for one year. Mary also serves as an advocate for CEO participants in the San Diego Homeless Court Program. Mary has over ten years of experience as a non profit professional, and prior to CEO she was the marketing and events coordinator at The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia. Mary holds a BA in History from Messiah College and a MA in Peace and Justice Studies from the University of San Diego.
As we look to the future, we remain committed to our mission of providing immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services for justice-involved individuals. We are proud of our growing impact in San Diego County and proud to partner with dedicated community partners in the pursuit of a stronger, cleaner, and safer community. We sincerely thank the following community organizations and foundations for their financial contributions* and/or partnerships in support of our mission.
Alliance Healthcare Foundation*
Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank*
Pacific Western Bank*
San Diego Bar Foundation*
San Diego Foundation*
California Department of Corrections
City of San Diego*
City of San Diego Parks and Recreation*
City of San Diego Transportation and Stormwater*
County of San Diego*
Custody to Community Transitional Reentry Program (CCTRP)
San Diego Chamber of Commerce
San Diego County Probation Department*
San Diego County District Attorney’s CARE Center*
San Diego Homeless Court
San Diego Public Defender
San Diego Workforce Partnership*
South County Economic Development Council
The Lighthouse Community
CEO SAN DIEGO
As part of National Second Chance Month, more than 200 people, many of whom had been previously incarcerated and are now looking for a fair chance to be part of the workforce, attended an employer seminar and job fair.
After serving almost four decades in prison, I look at my wonderful life and can’t believe how blessed I am to have a career, a home and a loving fiance. It wasn’t a given, and it took hard work and a commitment to learn that helped me get on a ...
When the pandemic took hold in 2020, remote work became a reality for millions of Americans — making digital skills even more necessary for job seekers.
Some of my happiest memories are of my days playing baseball in San Diego’s Logan Heights, as the pitcher on my Little League team, the Little Padres, at Memorial Park. My mom loved to watch me and my older brother, who was our catcher.
It’s been 22 years since I walked out of prison with a GED diploma, a handful of program certificates I earned “inside” and a mixture of fear and optimism about what was ahead of me. Looking back from the place where I now get to help people who are in ...
In June 2019, a South County Superior Court judge gave me a choice between accepting 12 years to life in prison or choosing the stringent conditions of a plea agreement and rebuilding my life after a burglary charge. I chose my life. After a year in the George Bailey Detention ...
Jordan, a Center for Employment Opportunities participant in San Diego, didn't think he'd need access to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). While transitioning back home, Jordan's sober living facility provided meals. Even if he had been eligible, Jordan didn't want to apply for a benefit he didn't need ...
A California lawmaker wants to increase the allowance that people released from prison receive to cover basic needs for the first time in nearly 50 years.
Employers across California are asking, “Where can we find workers?” The truth is that many hundreds of thousands of Californians are locked out of opportunity. And it doesn’t have to be that way. Many of our state’s most pressing economic challenges are the consequence of inaction. In this case, more ...
Three years into a citywide effort to keep San Diego clean and safe, Mayor Kevin Faulconer brought together partners of the city’s Clean SD program Tuesday to highlight the progress in removing more than 7,000 tons of trash, debris and waste from public spaces across the city.
One local organization is giving jobs to hundreds of people who were formerly incarcerated. Elizabeth Alvarez was live with Robert Smith from the Center for Employment Opportunities to talk about how the organization helps former inmates get back on their feet after prison.