VICE and Center for Employment Opportunities Announce Six-Month Apprentice Program to Employ Formerly Incarcerated People at VICE

Launching early 2017, VICE is now accepting applications for six-month apprentice program, employing and training the formerly incarcerated across content development, production, editorial, marketing and more

VICE partners with Center for Employment Opportunities, the country’s leading re-entry program that has helped more than 20,000 people find jobs upon release from prison

VICE Media, the world’s leading youth media brand, today announced the creation of an apprentice program to employ people with criminal records at VICE, the next step in a partnership with the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), the country’s leading nonprofit that provides career opportunities for the formerly incarcerated. VICE and CEO are now accepting applications, and interested participants should email

Beginning in early 2017, the six-month apprentice program will provide formerly incarcerated people who have little to no college or workforce experience with skills across a range of fields, including production, editorial, marketing and other creative jobs, at VICE’s Brooklyn headquarters, paying $15 per hour for 40 hours per week.

Participants will gain access to some of the best creative and strategic minds in media and take advantage of VICE’s state of the art production facilities, including edit suites, voiceover studios, screening rooms, virtual reality and more.  Participants will work across VICE’s digital channels, newsroom, television and film operations, and other divisions.  The fellowship is open to anyone on parole or probation based in New York City between the ages of 18 and 25.

The program will prepare participants with the necessary tools for employment in the field of media, and makes VICE not just the first media company to offer such an apprenticeship, but also a global leader in the field, offering employment and training for far higher quality jobs than companies typically offer.

Joblessness among those released from incarceration is one of the main drivers of recidivism in the United States. More than 2.2 million people are currently incarcerated in the United States, and studies have found that the employment rate for former prisoners is approximately 30 percent.  This apprentice program will provide formerly incarcerated people with skills needed for long-term employment at quality jobs.

“When VICE was given the opportunity to visit a federal prison with President Obama, we could not ignore what we learned – that fundamental elements of our criminal justice system need to be fixed,” said VICE COO Alyssa Mastromonaco.  “We committed at that moment to figure out a way to make a meaningful impact, and this apprentice program will do that, not just by helping formerly incarcerated people re-enter the working world, but by training them for production, design and other creative jobs that will be long term, well-paying careers.  These people deserve the opportunity to be leaders in Brooklyn and across the country, and it’s very rewarding to see the plan come together with such incredible partners.”

“VICE’s apprenticeship is a game-changing model of corporate citizenship,” said Sam Schaeffer, CEO of the Center for Employment Opportunities. “The program taps trainees who are highly motivated and ready to make a change, offering unmatched work-based learning opportunities and access to preeminent leaders across its global network. VICE recognizes that 70 million Americans who have a criminal record can’t be left of the employment sidelines. I’m excited to chart a new trajectory for CEO participants who are seeking to springboard into careers in creative media.” 

“New York is a national leader in criminal justice reform and this innovative program marks another step forward in our efforts to remove obstacles to employment for formerly incarcerated individuals,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “Through the New York State Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration, we are working to reduce the stigma associated with a criminal record and provide those released from prison with a well-paying job, fair and affordable housing, and opportunities to build their skills through education. Rehabilitation not only benefits those returning to our communities, but all taxpayers. I applaud VICE Media and the Center for Employment Opportunities for their leadership, and look forward to seeing this apprenticeship program help more New Yorkers succeed.”

“Americans who are trying to turn their lives around deserve better than a life sentence of unemployment,” said United States Senator Cory Booker. “We should empower people with nonviolent records to become productive members of society, not repeat offenders. Creating jobs for returning citizens allows them access to the American Dream, which is not only fiscally sound, but it helps reduce recidivism, which keeps our communities safe. VICE’s efforts to give people a second chance and an opportunity to develop skills working in such a dynamic industry is admirable.” 

Since it was founded in 1996, the Center for Employment Opportunities has helped over 20,000 people find jobs around the country upon release from prison. Today, they operate in 11 cities across California, Oklahoma, New York, and Pennsylvania. A randomized control trial study by MDRC found that CEO lowered recidivism for the highest risk persons on parole by over 20 percent and returned three dollars in savings for every public dollar invested.

The apprentice program builds off of VICE’s longtime activism and support for the formerly incarcerated, which includes Fixing The System, an hour-long documentary that gave viewers an in-depth look at America’s broken criminal justice system, featuring President Obama’s historic visit with inmates at the El Reno prison in Oklahoma. Surrounding the release of the documentary last year, VICE’s digital channels also focused on the issue with respect to topics covered by each vertical, looking at food, sports and technology issues within prison.  VICE also released its print magazine’s Prison Issue last year.

The apprentice program will be managed day-to-day by VICE’s Rachel Love.

VICE is the world’s leading multiplatform media company and content creation studio. Launched in 1994, VICE now operates in over 30 countries and distributes its programming to hundreds of millions of viewers each month across digital, linear, mobile, film and socials. VICE includes an international network of digital channels; a television and feature film production studio; a magazine; a record label; an in-house creative services agency; and a book-publishing division.

VICE’s award-winning programming has been recognized by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Peabody Awards, Sundance Film Festival, PEN Center, Cannes Lions, Frontline Club, Knight Foundation, American Society of Magazine Editors, LA Press Club, and Webby Awards, among others.


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