Creating Excellence in Re-Entry (CEiR)

Creating Excellence in Re-entry (CEiR) is a program that helps people re-entering society from incarceration get back on their feet. The seven-week program is a collaboration of many community partners, providing paid job training, certifications, soft-skill training, and barrier-reducing supports to participants. 

Core Partners

Goodwill of Central Iowa: Provides participants with hands-on and classroom-based skills training, soft-skill training around emotional intelligence, and career development assistance.  

Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families: Provides instruction on fatherhood, financial wellness and literacy, a mentorship program, and professional clothing attire through their Men on the Move clothing closet.  

Fifth Judicial District: Participants are referred from, and supported by, staff at Fort Des Moines Community Corrections Complex, part of the Fifth Judicial District.  

Society of St. Vincent de Paul: Provides instruction on healthy relationships and additional supports throughout programming. 

Additional Community Partners Include:

Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART): Provides transit training to participants on their first day and supports them through their Opportunities Thru Transit (OTT) reduced-fair pass system.  

Iowa Legal Aid: Supports participants through their expungement clinics that are open to the community or organized specifically for CEiR participants.  

Iowa Department of Transportation: Provides guidance for participants to get their license back and/or set up a reinstatement plan through the DOT.  

IowaWORKS:  Facilitates classes on digital footprint, interviewing, explaining criminal backgrounds, COLORS, and other trainings during the CEiR program.  

Iowa Net High Academy: Supports high school diploma completion for participants. 

Universal Kutz: Provides individual story of overcoming and offers insights on entrepreneurship; provides haircut for participants in preparation for mock interviews. 

Men on the Move: Provides professional suiting for participants prior to mock interviews and graduation – housed at Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families. 

Dad’s with a Purpose: Potential housing option utilized by graduates upon program completion. 

United Way of Central Iowa 

Iowa Employment Solutions at DMACC 

Program History

Recidivism is a relapse into previous criminal behavior resulting in an individual becoming re-incarcerated after their release. Studies have shown that people who recede are most likely to do so in their first three years after release. In the fiscal year of 2019, the Iowa Board of Parole reported a re-incarceration rate of 39.1%.  

Goodwill of Central Iowa created the CEiR program in partnership with St. Vincent de Paul, Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families, and the Fifth Judicial District, to support individuals re-entering society after incarceration. Goodwill of Central Iowa provides skills training and industry-recognized certification. Partners of CEiR provide practical classroom teaching, mentoring, and support. These programs strengthen good work habits and attitudes of participants transitioning into society and aid them in gainful employment and successful re-entry.  

Program Outline

Classroom Learning

Participants spend classroom time throughout the week on a variety of topics, including: 

  • Healthy Relationships – Society of St. Vincent de Paul 
  • Digital Literacy – Evelyn K. Davis and Goodwill of Central Iowa  
  • Financial Literacy – Evelyn K. Davis  
  • Fatherhood – Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families  
  • Emotional Intelligence – Goodwill of Central Iowa 

Through these courses, participants will learn how to change and adapt their behaviors to create positive self-image, mend relationships, and gain independence. Participants will also learn basic to intermediate skills and certifications in areas such as internet basics, Microsoft Office and G-Suite Applications. 

Job Training

During their time at Goodwill of Central Iowa, participants will take part in hands on job training. Here participants will have the option to take part in either our Food Service Skills Training or Warehouse, Packaging, and Logistics Skills Training. By the end of their seven weeks, participants will have completed 152 hours of paid on the job training and will have the opportunity to obtain several industry-recognized trainings, as well as an industry recognized certification they can take with them as they begin to search for a job. 

Job Club

At the conclusion of each skills training day, participants will take part in Job Club. Each day, a new topic is discussed among the participants. During this time, participants will have the opportunity to learn about conflict resolution, transferable skills, emotional intelligence, and effective communication.   


At the start of the program, participants are paired with a mentor from Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families. This provides extra support as they progress through and beyond the CEiR program. Participants meet with their mentors at least once each week to discuss their progress and address challenges.  

Work Readiness

During their last weeks in the CEiR program, participants will begin their independent job search. At this time, participants are paired with a Career Specialist. Together they will build a resume for the participant and form interviewing skills. Participants will also learn professional communication including e-mail etiquette and cover letter development, along with personal narrative development. Program participants will also participate in mock interviews and have opportunities to interview with local employers.  


Upon completion of the program participants will attend a graduation ceremony where they are recognized for their successful completion of Creating Excellence in Re-entry.  

Program Success Rate

Through 2019, Creating Excellence in Reentry has had 52 participants and 35 graduates, with an overall success rate of 67%. Out of the 35 graduates, the program has a 77% employment success rate.  

Read about our graduates here:  

Taking A New Path 

Warehouse To Wisdom 

One More Chance 

Get Involved

Do you know somebody who would be a good fit for the program? Here’s how to get involved. 

Participant Referral

Potential program participants are referred by probation or parole officers within the Fifth Judicial District and are residents of the Fort Des Moines Work Release Program. 


Recruitment efforts begin one to two weeks before the start of the programming. During recruitment individuals are given the opportunity to attend Night at the Fort, a general information session to learn more about the CEiR program, and hear from program collaborators and past graduates 

Referral to Program

Participants that are wanting to enter the CEiR program will speak with their probation or parole officer to receive a referral. Once a referral is received by the CEiR program, the participant will then begin the application and selection process. 


Participants accepted into the CEiR program will attend orientation the Friday prior to the program start date. During this time participants will attend seminars including DART’s How to Ride and Bring Your A-Game to Work. Participants will also meet CEiR program partners and skills trainers.  

Support CEiR

There are many ways you can support the CEiR program and amplify its impact in our community. As a business, you can make the pledge to be a second-chance employer. Contact us today about hiring our program participants that have shown a commitment to change.  

The CEiR program is free of charge to participants and to further help them on their journey, their job training provided by Goodwill of Central Iowa is paid, to allow them to start supporting themselves and their families as they get back on their feet. You can show a commitment to the future of CEiR with one-time or recurring monetary donations to the program.