CDOT Recognized for Partnership and Second Chances

Dec. 6, 2018 -

DENVER—The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) is recognizing CDOT for its role in providing transitional work to individuals on probation or recently released on parole.

CDOT's partnership with CEO has provided employment for nearly 200 people since May 2017. Participants in the program work within CDOT's Division of Highway Maintenance to help maintain bridges, clear graffiti, and trim or remove unwanted vegetation.

A CEO recognition and presentation event was held at CDOT's Denver Headquarters on Thursdasy, Dec. 6.

"We're honored to be recognized for helping other people get a new lease on life by providing employment opportunities," said CDOT Executive Director Michael Lewis. "And in addition to helping themselves, they're helping us maintain our highway system, so it's a win-win for everyone involved."

The CEO is a national organization that provides individuals on probation or those recently released on parole with job training, placement and support. Its Colorado operation launched in May 2017, after the Governor's Office of Community Partnerships—along with the Department of Corrections—visited CEO's New York office in 2015. They found it a compelling program to reduce recidivism and wanted to bring it to the state.

"We are thrilled with, and grateful for, our partnership with CDOT," said National Director of CEO Samra Haider. "Thank you to CDOT for working with CEO to provide returning citizens in Colorado the tools, and opportunities to be successful in finding work and stabilizing their lives."

Since the program's inception, 23,000 work hours have included maintenance on 140 bridges, the removal of more than 1,700 bags of garbage, graffiti elimination and clearing the state highway right-of-way of unwanted vegetation.

"The initial success of the program has allowed us to expand it to other parts of the state," said CDOT Director of Highway Maintenance Kyle Lester. "From its start in the Denver area, the program's now grown to include the Greeley-Fort Collins area and the Colorado Springs area."

CDOT expects to expand the program to other areas of the state in the next two years, including to the Western Slope and Southwest Colorado.