Young Adult Mentor

Please see details about this opening below. To apply, click here for the application.

The Opportunity
Our Buffalo team is hiring a passionate, resilient, and social justice-minded Young Adult (YA) Mentor (referred to internally as Credible Messenger or Peer Navigator) to support YA participants in achieving success during their time in our program and as they assume full-time employment. The ideal candidate has lived experience of incarceration or involvement in the justice system.

The Mentor will support, motivate, and coach YA’s on parole or probation who have sustained a conviction within the last year, who have a medium to high risk of re-offending, and who are willing to obtain employment. The Mentor will work alongside assigned CEO staff and other service providers to provide wraparound and holistic support to YA participants

The Mentor will serve as the first point of contact for our YA participants, processing intake materials, identifying barriers, and most importantly, establishing and cultivating relationships with participants from their first day in the program. They will support YA participants through their time in the program, facilitating group workshops grounded in cognitive behavioral theory, steering adults through each program component, and providing person centered intervention as needed. The Mentor will also share learnings and practices that improve youth engagement and participant retention with the larger CEO team.

Who We Are

The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) provides employment services to people with recent criminal convictions. Across the United States, over 6,000 people participate in CEO each year, transitioning to employment that supports themselves, their families, and their communities.

What began as a demonstration project of the Vera Institute of Justice in the 1970s to address employment barriers facing the formerly incarcerated following release in New York City has grown into the leading reentry employment organization in the country, where over 25,000 formerly incarcerated individuals have secured full-time employment since 1996. Since 2009, CEO has gained support to expand its programs through government, nonprofit, and private organizations including the Federal Social Innovation Fund, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Robin Hood Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation. In 2016, CEO embarked on a 5-year strategic plan to grow to serve 9,000 participants annually

Additional Responsibilities
Key responsibilities of the Mentor include but are not limited to:

  • Conducting intake with potential YA participants, facilitating initial needs assessments and assessing factors and risks for recidivism
  • Working with service providers to screen for mental health/substance use disorders and basic needs to refer for behavioral health services
  • Developing individualized service and support plans for each YA participant
  • Facilitating workshops and curricula designed to build social skills, strengthen problem solving approaches, and encourage participants to examine past and present decisions
  • Maintaining contact with YA participants twice a month throughout the duration of the year-long program, interacting 1:1 in person and by phone, including evenings and weekends, and conducting home visits to re-engage participants
  • Facilitating on-site and “mobile” intervention sessions for YA participants
  • Deploying effective strategies to keep YA participants motivated, monitoring their engagement and connecting them to resources and relationships that support their success
  • Providing reports describing daily activity and interactions with YA participants

Who You Are

  • You have direct, personal experience within the justice system and/or living in a high poverty urban setting and feel deeply committed to sharing your experiences to support and empower justice-involved YAs
  • You thrive at helping others set and achieve goals and are resilient in your approach to support your client in making progress against these
  • You’re able to work collaboratively with individuals within and outside of an organization to support a client, coordinating touch points and following up to get what you need to support your client
  • You come with 6+ months of experience working in a capacity to support YAs in a role which required you to cultivate relationships and trust, foster high morale, and use motivational interviewing techniques that respect each individual’s values
  • You have experience identifying and assessing client needs, in turn developing individualized and tailored service plans based on your assessments
  • You enjoy getting to know people of diverse cultures and backgrounds and have demonstrated aptitude for tailoring your communications to a variety of stakeholders
  • You understand and respect this work requires a high degree of trust and transparency
  • You enjoy getting out of the office at times and traveling to your clients
  • You’re bilingual in English and Spanish (preferred)

Perks and Benefits

The compensation for this position is $40,000. We also offer a comprehensive benefits package, including medical and dental coverage, paid parental leave, participation in a retirement plan, sick and vacation leave, paid holidays and more. We're a workplace that promotes continual learning and teamwork, offering lunch and learns, team outings, holiday gatherings and more for our staff. CEO is also dedicated to ongoing staff development and training, including regular training opportunities in Motivational Interviewing (MI). MI is one evidence-based skill that reentry and human service professionals can utilize when supporting participants to achieve their goals.

More About Us

CEO is a diverse team working to advance economic opportunity for people returning home from incarceration. We welcome diversity and highly encourage applications from people of color and people with convictions. Learn more at

CEO is an equal employment opportunity for all regardless of race, color, citizenship, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, veteran or reservist status or any other category protected by federal, state or local law.

Please note that due to the volume of resumes received, we are unable to contact each applicant regarding the status of each position or reply to candidates' inquiries via phone or email.