GED required, Ivy League need not apply

For a while, I have been joking with the staff at CityLink that we should conduct an experiment and take the new GED, knowing that I would likely not pass the more rigorous test which calls on knowledge across fields of Social Studies, Math & Science, and Language Arts (I never learned how to stop a run-on sentence).  Our Development and Communication Director  advised me against this little experiment as sharing a failure of the GED may not inspire confidence in the organization as a whole, further persuasion was that the test can take up to 7 or 8 hours to complete.

Author Matt Collette beat us to the punch by taking the test himself and recording his experience about the futile attempt as an Ivy League grad to pass the new GED, read this great article about his experience here.




Why is this important?

The GED is used as an entry point for employment, a regional jobs outlook report completed in 2013 showed that 98% of jobs that could support a family with a living wage, require a GED.  Our clients at CityLink Center work very hard under the incredible guidance of CPS’ ABLE program to prepare for this test.  If you are interested in supporting their efforts, sign-up for a volunteer training session and help tutor individuals studying for this test.

Jobs Report Excerpt

The Dream

MLK led our country’s civil rights movement, breaking through the critical steps for voting rights, the right for representation in a jury of your peers, and to proclaim that separate but equal cannot be equal.  This dream needs to be continually nurtured and pushed forward but King had a further dream, for economic opportunity of all people within our country.  These two dreams are the hope and aspiration for CityLink and our partners to pursue 365 days a year.

Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality. For we know now, that it isn’t enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger? What does it profit a man to be able to eat at the swankest integrated restaurant when he doesn’t even earn enough money to take his wife out to dine? What does it profit one to have access to the hotels of our cities, and the hotels of our highways, when we don’t earn enough money to take our family on a vacation? What does it profit one to be able to attend an integrated school, when he doesn’t earn enough money to buy his children school clothes? – Martin Luther King; Memphis, Tennessee, March 1968

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Join us on this March for genuine equality by helping people in our community gain their education, obtain employment, learn to manage their finances and breakdown other barriers for true holistic prosperity:


Thank You MLK

Today our facility is closed in order to recognize and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

His work and words continues to inspire us today:

“All I’m saying is simply this, that all life is interrelated, that somehow we’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

  • Martin Luther King Jr. December 18th 1963, Kalamazoo Michigan

Behind the 8-ball:The Giant GED Gap

Recently, CityBeat published an in-depth look at the state of GED education in our country…and the resulting statistics are sobering. We know from the everyday stories of our clients that not having a GED puts a person at a disadvantage for getting a job, much less earning a living wage, advancing in their field or getting into college. It puts you behind the 8-ball, so to speak.

Yet the new GED test introduced in 2014 is harder, more complex and less accessible for low-income adults than ever before. The article reviews the details behind the many changes to the test from how it’s administered (electronically-online with time constraints),  more challenging questions (more essays requiring contextual critical thinking, more algebra and quadratic equations for example), rising costs and more.

There is no denying the new test is presenting problems and the statistics reviewed in the article will not bring a smile to your face:

Nationally: The numbers are shocking: In the United States, according to the GED Testing Service, 401,388 people earned a GED in 2012 and about 540,000 in 2013. As of mid-December, only about 55,000 had passed nationally in 2014. That is a 90-percent drop off from the previous year.

Locally: Data from the Ohio Department of Education shows that in Hamilton County, only 233 of the 747 people who took the GED in 2014 passed, or just 31 percent. In 2013, 1,538 of the county’s 2,388 test takers passed — 64 percent. 

But why is the new test so hard? Was the last GED test just easy? Or are we asking the wrong questions? Should the GED test be used to determine a person’s readiness for college, or their ability to hold a basic job? Have we gone too far? The article puts its like this:

To put it another way, we all would agree that high school students need to know more before entering college and that sound math and language skills are part of that. But are we going to ace out a whole group of people from getting a GED because some college administrators don’t think their incoming students know enough algebra?

Read the full article here:

CityLink in partnership with Cincinnati Public Schools offers GED classes here at the Center as well as one-on-one tutoring through volunteers. We also recently launched a new 10-week computer literacy class in partnership with the Public Library to get adult learners up to speed on using computers and navigating the web to make online test taking like the GED, job search and filling out online applications within reach. We can’t deny that the hill is steep for many of our clients, but we believe that having company and a support system on a trek up a mountain is imperative to reach your peak.

So young at 50….

At CityLink we are fortunate to have the AmeriCorps VISTA program help fuel our work at the center. VISTAs have been with us since 2012 and have helped with establishing the infrastructure to engage volunteers, tell our story and fuel our work.  Our latest crew of VISTAs (see charming photo below) is helping across our partner organizations to serve our clients in areas of education, workforce development, financial education and more.


While VISTAs serve their community, they also have a chance to develop skills and abilities to take their next personal and professional steps.  Our VISTA Alums have gone on to take jobs in the business, social service and medical sectors.  We are extremely fortunate to benefit from their energy, insights, and enthusiasm for our mission.

To learn more about the VISTA program which is turning 50 this year, check out this video: VISTA turns 50

If someone you know is interested in serving as a VISTA at CityLink Center, please have them contact

CityLink is Hiring…Join the Movement

CityLink is currently seeking talented and driven people to join our team. Please click on the available positions below to read the job descriptions and qualifications:


Facility Staff – Job Description

We understand that making a career decision on where to invest your time and talent is a huge commitment.

Thank you for your interest.

To apply, please send your cover letter, resume, and 3 references to

CityLink Center is a high capacity organization fueled by a small, expert staff and an army of volunteers. The CityLink Staff is formulated to deliver our key value adds to the equation: Co-Location, Integration, and Volunteer Mobilization, as well as fill in any gaps in programming. Our Resident Service Providers have their respective staffs on-site in order to deliver curriculum, classes, workshops, and counseling.

Happy 2015

Dear CityLink Volunteers & Supporters,
Thanks for your dedication to advancing lives in our community over the last year(s), we look forward to more momentum and impact in 2015.  As we start this new year, it is exciting to think about the individual lives that will walk through our doors be impacted through the incredible services and care they will experience.
It is an immense personal pleasure to start this new year answering the call to transform lives.  We believe that all members of our community were created with incredible promise and God has called us to walk along side individuals to restore that promise.
As we enter our third year of operation, we look forward to deepening partnerships, discovering new ways to service our clients more effectively together, and towards new partners and service offerings joining our work at the center.
We are grateful that volunteers, partners and the community continues to invest time, talent and treasure in our collective mission to transform lives and our community.
Happy 2015!

One Life and One Story at a Time…

Together as a community we are helping each other write new chapters for our lives. Here in their own words just a few of our clients share what partnering with CityLink has meant for them. You can even view this video for more stories of hope. If you’d like to Join the Movement to take back our city, Consider making a Gift of Hope this holiday season to fuel life-change.
CL Holiday Appeal PDF_Page_3


It’s Christmas Time at CityLink!

Man, we love Christmas. The food, the music, the smiles and the cheer. We love it even more when we get to share in community with our clients and their families. We also know that Christmas isn’t always a time of wonder and excitement and joy. It can be tough, lonely, stressful and even sad depending on how your individual journey has gone. At CityLink we strive to be family to our clients and volunteers one by one so that there is always a place they can go “where everybody knows your name” and cares about your story.

This December we’ve invited clients and families to join us at “Awaited” the incredible Christmas story reinvented on stage at Crossroads Church. Almost 100,000 tickets were reserved and all the shows are sold out. We are excited that we get to  take some of our clients to two different shows and are providing transportation to share in the performance and fellowship together.

We’re also excited to welcome clients and their families for our annual Holiday Portrait Project that has been expanded this year to include crafts, cookie decorating and Nativity Story telling for whole family. Each family gets a matted print and disc of all their pictures thanks to a passionate and committed crew of photographers that give of their time and talent each Christmas to help create lasting memories for our families.

One such photographer is Tony Arrasmith of Arrasmith and Associates. In his own words he talks about his experiences supporting the Center through both video and portrait projects.

“If you can imagine an elderly lady who has never had a formal portrait taken in her entire life. Then upon receiving the photo she looks up at you  with tears in her eyes and says, “I didn’t know I could look so beautiful”, then she gives you a 20 second hug. You see beauty isn’t just in the photography.  It’s the visual representation of family, a tangible and lasting bolster of confidence in seeing the possibilities within yourself you hadn’t considered before.  The beauty is the hope these photos inspire.”
-Tony Arrasmith

Read his blog post in its entirety and watch the video he, Joe Harrison and Todd Joyce of Optic Lizard produced earlier this year.

We’ve got a lot to be thankful for here in our city. We are overwhelmed with the hearts of people and partners that make up our community here at the Center. A Merry Christmas it is.

Thank You UBS FTB Financial Services!

UBS FTB Financial Services Presents $10,000 Check to CityLink Center
FTB Financial chooses CityLink Center as annual charity for volunteer and funding support

Late last month UBS/FTB Financial Services hosted a Holiday Open House at their new office space in Kenwood. To celebrate the opening of the new space clients were welcomed warmly for a night of conversation, cocktails and a presentation that announced CityLink Center as their charity of the year.

Employees made personal financial donations that were matched by the company, totaling $10,000.  The entire UBS/FTB Team also participated in a volunteer event at CityLink on December 11th by helping run the Center’s Holiday Portrait Project where hundreds of CityLink clients and their children came in for professional holiday pictures, crafts, nativity storytelling, cookie decorating and more.

Corporate Partners like FTB and many others are fueling the life-change our city desperately needs. We are thankful for their commitment to community and to each of their employees for giving selflessly to causes close to their hearts each and every year.

Check out some pics on our facebook page of FTB employee volunteers in action  yesterday and learn more about UBS FTB Financial Services here.

UBS FTB Open House-29Pictured: Daniel Torbeck, CFA Managing Director of FTB Financial Services, Marissa Abernathy, Director of Development and Communication for CityLink Center and Emily Losacker, Client Service Associate for FTB Financial Services and CityLink Volunteer Extraordinaire!