Don’t Miss Your Opportunity to Join our Team as an AmeriCorps VISTA!

americorps-superwomanThe clock is ticking and we are in the final push to garner the best of the best for the next VISTA class. 
 

We are hiring for 9 (that’s right… NINE!) VISTA roles this year – is there a way you can share the love?

Here’s a snippet of what we are looking:

 Not sure about your next step? Looking to build your resume with professional development while giving back to the Cincinnati community? CityLink Center is hiring for a “year-of-service” position through the AmeriCorps VISTA that builds on your skills, grows your network, and you could earn an education or cash award to put towards any loans or future schooling you’re interested in.
 
VISTA stands for Volunteers IService TAmerica and allows the opportunity to commit to a year of service in a non-profit agency with exposure to multiple different social services.
 
CityLink Center is seeking eager young professionals who are interested in building capacity of our current programs to serve more clients and empower volunteers, while confronting the issue of poverty within the city of Cincinnati. We provide an excellent space to learn innovative and best practices within the non-profit sector while graduates pursue their career path in a number of areas.
 
Responsibilities include building and refining processes of current programming while gaining leadership skills and mobilizing a team of volunteers. VISTA’s develop an extensive network through volunteer mobilization and working alongside a passionate team of co-workers. Often folks feel unsure about next steps to take upon graduation and need an option that will help develop professional skills while growing personally.
 
Check out the 9 various roles we’re hiring for HERE [Development (Grant Writing), Events, Workforce Development, Recruiting, Education (Adult and Financial), Marketing/Communications, Social Work, etc] Just scroll to find ‘CityLink Center’.
All applications are due by May 3rd; positions start on June 21st.
Anyone that has questions can email  paige.klein@citylinkcenter.org 

If you want to forward on to your friends/family -feel free to repost/forward/copy&paste any of this. We also have Facebook posts you can re-share if you’d rather use social media.
 

CityLink Hosting Spring Open House April 5th

CityLink Hosting Spring Open House April 5th

‘Taste of CityLink’ event invites new and existing clients learn about the more than 15 different onsite services available at the center

Open House Flyers

On Tuesday April 5th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. CityLink Center and its partner agencies will host their Spring Open House ‘A Taste of CityLink’ where interested parties can learn more about each of the specific services offered through the Center in one easy to navigate location in Cincinnati’s West End. This event is free and open to the public.

The day is designed for anyone who could benefit from support in finding a job, managing personal finances, getting prepared for the GED, going on to college, or even IT training. There’s no better way to learn if any of these programs are right for you, than by experiencing them first hand in a no-pressure open environment. The day will also feature existing CityLink clients sharing stories about their experiences and answer questions about their journey at the Center.

RSVP’s are not required and visitors are welcome anytime between 10 and 2 pm and can expect to be on-site for at least an hour. Parking is plentiful and free in the CityLink lot. Light refreshments will be provided.

What: CityLink’s Spring Open House  ‘A Taste of CityLink’

Where: CityLink Center 800 Bank Street
(in the West End on the corner of Linn and Bank St.)

When: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Revised GED Measure Brings Renewed Hope to Adult Learners

One of CityLink’s core service areas is Education, and rightfully so. Education is the cornerstone of economic self-sufficiency with 99% of local jobs requiring at least a high school diploma or equivalent to gain employment.  We currently have two at-capacity GED classes filled with eager and dedicated adult learners being taught by Cincinnati Public School teachers and supported by a committed crew of CityLink volunteers who help in the classroom and lead twice weekly Study Tables where students get one-on-one support.

But the new GED test that was put into place just over 2 years ago has made this already arduous task an even tougher road to follow.  We wrote about the detrimental effects of these changes on Ohio test takers last year in this blog.

Last month the administers of the GED Test announced some welcome changes to the way it determines passing scores. Based on nationwide feedback from test takers and administrators regarding the tests’ difficulty level (not to mention its’ increased cost and the fact that it’s now given entirely online) the minimum passing score has been lowered by 5 points. This modification has inspired a renewed sense of hope and energy around our adult learners’ ability to reach the finish line.

So What’s the Big Deal?
According to numbers obtained by CleveScene540,000 individuals passed the GED test in 2013. But by the end of 2014, only about 55,000 had passed. Locally here in Ohio, just 3,699 people passed the test in 2014, that’s 90% fewer than those who passed the test in Ohio throughout 2013 (over 15,000).

Here at CityLink, we had 14 clients earn their GED in 2013, compared to zero in 2014 and 1 in 2015. Yet we have students who have been working on their GED here since we opened 3 years. We’d say that’s a pretty big problem, and based on the recent changes it’s clear we’re not the only ones who think so.

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What’s Changed?
Over the past couple of years, complaints have been constant and increasing and the testing service that administers the GED (a partnership between the American Council on Education, or ACE, and Pearson, the world’s largest for-profit education company) has responded.  At the end of January the group announced that they are lowering the minimum passing score by 5 points, from 150 to 145 out of 200 “recognizing that students who passed the latest, tougher version of it were doing better in college than high school graduates.”


Five points may sound like a small drop, but the number of people who’ve tested — and will continue to test — in that range is immense.

 In addition to the new lower cutoff score, the GED will introduce tiered pass rates for the first time. A score of 165-174 certifies readiness for college-level work without remediation. And a score above 175, earned by about 1 in 10 test takers, could make students eligible for up to 10 hours of college credit through ACE’s Credit Recommendation Service.

This is a huge development and reflects what many adult educators including CityLink partners and volunteers, have been saying since the unveiling of the new test: the expectations were too high for the many people who need a GED credential to find employment to survive.

Why Did the Test Change in the First Place?
The 2014 revised version of the test was modified to be aligned with Common Core standards and aimed at college and career readiness. And while college readiness is a worthy aim, not all high school graduates do — or want — to go on to college. Why set that standard for GED graduates?

So the revamped test began serving a dual conflicted dual purpose.  Historically its purpose was to help adults who didn’t complete school show that they do possess the skills of a high school graduate; however the new test is positioned as an indicator of college-level skills. This effectively shut out many people who needed a GED credential from obtaining one.

Here’s the Great News:
The great news is that Ohio has already decided to retroactively award GED credentials to people who scored a 145 which means 1,425 Ohioans who failed the test over the past two years are now being notified that they actually passed it or portions of it; including a few CityLink clients!

With education at the foundation of economic self-sufficiency, this change represents a positive move in the right direction for the many people who seek a GED credential to find employment, not four-year degrees, while simultaneously allowing test-takers with higher-ed ambitions the opportunity to show those college-ready skills.

Completed MashUp ArtWork Unveiled

Each October, CityLink hosts one of the most awesome events our city has to offer–MashUp! A collection of different performances and interactive art, plus drool worthy eats and libations (hello fresh grilled Nada sliders and ice cold Mad Tree!). One of the best things that comes out of MashUp each year is a lasting piece of Artwork created by our guests over the course of the evening.

In 2015, 600+ guests helped ‘Make their Mark’ on Cincinnati by placing their thumbprints across our city. This laser cut out of our city’s neighborhoods represents so much more than just the geography of Cincinnati. Running along the banks of the Ohio these words are written:

“Cincinnati is home to 52 neighborhoods filled with thousands of people teeming with incredible potential. CityLink is a place where challenges are met, goals are accomplished and hope is fulfilled beyond great measure. Join us on the journey.”

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We seek to fill our walls with tangible reminders of the incredible God-given potential, talent and strength that exists within the hearts of those who make up our community.

Who knows what kinds of cool  interactive art projects we’ll come up with next! You can bet that whatever it is, you’ll want to be a part of creating it…so be sure to save the date for MashUp 2016 on Friday October 7th!

Interested in serving as a sponsor, performing artist for food sponsor for MashUp? Man, you’re awesome! We’d love to talk. Drop us a note by contact marissa.abernathy@citylinkcenter.org and we’ll provide more info!

Thanks again to our 2015 Interactive Art Sponsor, Phil Huff and CIP Retail.

Leap With Us

Inline image 1Ever heard the idiom “Leap of Faith”? It’s used often when someone is faced with an audacious choice – to stay in a place of safety of the known or to act on trusting in something that cannot be readily seen or proved.

CityLink was considered by some in the community to be a “Leap of Faith”; embarking on a journey to break the cycle of poverty that was difficult to comprehend possible outcomes. An outcome that housed co-located social services and where lives are transformed through integrated services mobilized by volunteers. But after many years of inching towards the edge, collectively thousands of Cincinnatians jumped together to make CityLink a reality…

…And soared! Since launching a full portfolio of social service partnerships in January 2013, we have served over 1000 unique clients with over 500 volunteers. This year, to keep the momentum going, we are recruiting our 5th class of AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) for a total of 10 remarkable people.
The VISTA program is where an individual takes a “leap of faith”. They make a mark in Cincinnati through CityLink Center’s holistic approach to fighting generational and situational poverty. This leap means making sacrifices that include but aren’t limited to: living at the same level of poverty as many of our clients, honing personal and professional development skills, and submitting to learn innovative and best practices within the non-profit sector.
Being a VISTA at CityLink could mean they are building and refining processes, expanding capacity of programs to serve more clients and empower more volunteers, developing financial resources, or cultivating how we share our story. And often there are projects and processes that are created and maintained that the outcome is not readily seen or proven, but leaves a lasting impression within our community.

Do you know someone who is looking for their next great adventure? Who may be courageous and brave to take a “leap of faith” with CityLink Center and AmeriCorps VISTA? Check out our listings with AmeriCorps VISTA HERE to see the various opportunities to make a mark in Cincinnati!

Love our City

I Love Cincinnati

Everyday I get to witness the unsung heroes in our city who reach deep into reservoirs of resiliency to forge ahead.

I witness individuals who defy a mountain of obstacles to advance their lives through improved education, steady employment, and better financial disciplines.  I see people building a better tomorrow for their children and for their family.

I see dissimilar lives come together and grow and learn from one another.  I see people come with humble hearts to offer their hands and shoulders to one another.

I see a community actively pursue God’s great command to love one another.

I love our city.

If you want to put your love for our city into action, join us for our next volunteer orientation March 3rd, 6pm.

RSVP Here. 

Join us.

Senator Portman ‘Impressed’ by Integrated Services Approach at CityLink

 U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) recently toured CityLink Center and visited Per Scholas Cincinnati to show his support of Per Scholas’ work with the long-term unemployed and to discuss his priorities as Co-Chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus.

During the visit, Portman shared how impressed he was with CityLink’s integrated approach to social services and the support that people can find here. “CityLink Center is helping Ohioans get the skills they need to find good jobs. ” He commented on his Facebook page. “Impressed with Cincinnati’s CityLink Center, where people can go to find an integrated path towards self-sustainability and hope. As Co-Chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, I was also glad to see the important work being done at Per Scholas Cincinnati to ensure Ohioans have the skills needed to fill the jobs that are available.”

The Senator took the time met with Per Scholas leaders as well as students of the current IT Support cohort and commented on how determined and dedicated the Per Scholas’ students were.

As Co-Chair of the Career and Technical Education Caucus and a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Portman wrote and passed an amendment that makes long-term unemployed Americans eligible for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which encourages businesses to hire hire long-term unemployed Ohioans, helping them get back on their feet. He says, “Six years after the recession was declared over, more than 2 million Americans have been unemployed 27 weeks or longer – and even that excludes the approximately 6 million Americans who say they want a job but are not counted as unemployed because they have given up searching.  This provision creates an incentive for employers to hire those folks, the very people who have the most trouble finding work.”

To view the coverage of the Senator’s visit on WLWT news, click here.

Client, Robin Jones is going from Homeless to Homeowner in 2016

Robin came to CityLink in late 2013. She had lost her business of 25 years as a childcare provider and needed a fresh start. She shared that at one point things were so desperate that she became homeless. After landing a job soon after becoming a client at the Center in October of 2013, she then shifted her attention from job search to getting her finances in order. She began working with SmartMoney. She started budgeting, saving and paying down debt. At the time, Robin owned an unreliable SUV that was a drain on her budget due to gas so she set a goal to buy a car through Changing Gears.Not only did she purchase more affordable and reliable transportation through ChangingGears in 2014, she paid it off and not a single payment was late.

Today, Robin has set her sites on a new goal. Owning her own home. When she shared her plans to start looking for a way to buy a house, SmartMoney connected Robin with Habitat for Humanity and shared that she might be a good candidate for their homeownership program. Robin took her time with the paper work, gathered a list of volunteers that could help her build her home and took the process to heart.  Her perseverance paid off…Robin was approved to build her home in Lockland in 2016! We can’t wait to see all that she accomplishes in 2016!

In honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, Robin spent her Monday off getting one step closer to her dream; building sheds and walls for her home and many others that Habitat for Humanity will build across the tri-state this year. Robin will begin construction on her home in the fall.

Read her story on Cincinnati.com:
http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2016/01/18/building-dreams-mlk-day/78974244/

 

 

Sharing the Christmas Story Thanks to Church Parternships

Best in-class social service agencies aren’t the only partnerships that make CityLink a place where hope thrives…our church network is also a BIG part of how CityLink supports clients with holistic care. For the third year in a row, Crossroads Church donated 150 tickets for CityLink clients and their families to experience The Awaited Show. Since we love Cincinnati, we may be a little biased, but it’s the Greatest Christmas Production on the planet earth…and our clients tend to agree! Tons of CityLink families join us again and again for this special holiday tradition. And thanks to Landmark Baptist Church, our clients don’t have to worry about how they’ll get to the show or finding a place to park. Landmark not only donates their church bus, but also chauffeurs us each year to all three performance dates with cheerful smiles and even a few Christmas carols along the way. We are extremely thankful for the continued blessing ‘the church’ is to CityLink’s mission and vision for a city bound together by a common thread and purpose.

Merry Christmas Cincinnati.

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‘Tis the Season… For Holiday Portraits!

The carols are playing and the trees are lit – it’s Christmas time at CityLink!  With the holidays upon us, we had an awesome chance to capture some of the season’s joy at CityLink’s third annual Holiday Portrait Project.  Thanks to the talent and generosity of photographers David Slaughter, Tony ArrasmithTony and Team small, Brian “Moose” Girton, Mark Nowak, Diana Kelly-Davis, Josh Beeman, and Todd Kough,

families in our community were blessed with the opportunity to have high quality family portraits taken.  Over 130 families signed up to have their photos captured– each receiving a matted print and digital copies of the entire shoot.  In addition to the photos, CityLink volunteers helped facilitate activities like cookie decorating and nativity story telling for the whole family to enjoy.  We are so thankful for the kindness and generosity of everyone who helped provide our CityLink Family with these lasting and meaningful gifts.

Tony Arrasmith has this to say about his continued involvement with the Holiday Portrait Project:

“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, Arrasmith and Associates, LLC 

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