Cincinnati Works Advance You Program

Untitled designToday (June 11, 2016) Cincinnati Works, in partnership with CityLink, kicked off Saturday programming. I was overwhelmed with excitement as I watched 17 WORKING individuals invest in themselves as participants of the newly enhanced Advance You program.  I found myself filled with joy and pride as we enter our 20th year and continue to pursue innovative ways to assist individuals in their goals for greater stability and professional excellence. The launch also included structured job search coordinated by Amanda with volunteer support.

Here are a few photos from today’s activities.

Glenna Parks,  Program Director
Cincinnati Works

CityLink will be open on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month all summer long. Stop in for an Info Session (at 10 a.m.) or if you’re an existing client, reach out to your Service Coordinator to get scheduled for Saturday Services. Read more about our Saturday offerings here. 


Collaboration in action 6 days a week!

Saturday Doors Open

Today marks the first day that CityLink and partners are offering services on a Saturday.  We have over 40 clients enlisted to start or continue their journey with exciting partner programming:

  • CincinnatiWorks launches AdvanceYou on Saturdays to help members with jobs understand and develop to take that next career step
  • SmartMoney offers workshops and counseling for individuals to take control of their finances
  • ChangingGears classes prepare clients for vehicle ownership while the garage is hard at work repairing and preparing vehicles

In July, PerScholas will launch Network+ for those graduates or individuals who already have their A+ Certification.

If you are interested in starting your journey, give us a call at 513-357-2000 and get enlisted into an info session which takes place at 10am.

And all this progress is supported by volunteers, so if you are interested in engaging to volunteer, sign-up for a training here.

Are you a part of the 46%

46% of Americans

Wages are finally rising. Unemployment is the lowest it’s been since 2007.

But 31% of American adults, or 76 million people, say they are struggling to get by or just barely making it, according to the Federal Reserve Bank’s latest survey on Americans’ economic well-being, which looked at 2015.

46% of Americans would have to borrow or sell something to afford a $400 emergency expense, which can subject people to expensive loans, risk of defaulting on payments, damaging credit, and a whole host of potential negative ramifications.

At CityLink, SmartMoney Community Services provides financial education to help individuals build a budget, balance a budget, establish savings, and build assets…..if you want to learn more, call us at 513-357-2000 or learn more here.

Read more from this CNN Article.

Message from Redeemer

It’s awesome to hear a passionate call from a visionary leader.  Timothy Keller from Redeemer Presbyterian talks about the importance of cities and our call to the city, check it out here


Thought about joining CityLink?


We spend 30% of our lives at work….why not work somewhere you love helping to transform lives and our community?

Currently CityLink has openings ranging from AmeriCorps VISTAs to seasonal Childcare Assistant to an Operations Coordinator position, if this feels like the right step for you, please follow the application process.

You can also check out links for two of our partners, Changing Gears and Catholic Charities who are currently seeking team members to fuel their work.

You should run the EXTREME Point .1K

Extreme .1K Logo with Date


Kick off your summer at CityLink’s first ever Extreme Point .1K!

YES…you read that right…a POINT .1K!
Here’s your chance to take on the grueling task of running, walking, skipping or even dancing 329 feet along Bank Street to reach the finish line.

Why a Point .1K? 
Because ‘a little distance can make a big difference’ for folks in Cincinnati working hard towards reaching their full potential. (And because we think everyone should get to slap a magnet on their car proving how awesome they are for being a “distance” runner).

This family friendly event will feature Food Trucks (like Sweets and Meats BBQ!), live entertainment, MadTree Beer booth, and children’s activities like a bounce house, petting zoo, face painting and more!

Plus you or your team could win coveted prize in categories like: Best Costume, Fastest Time, Most Creative Team Name, Best Family Costume and MORE!

  • Individual Registration: $25 
  • Youth Registration (12 and under): $10 
  • Groups of 5 or more: $20 per participant 

Gather up a team and start your training regime today!!! 

CityLink Piloting Saturday Hours Beginning June 11th

CityLink has been designed to suppSaturday Programming Adort both the unemployed and those in our community who are already working but are seeking to increase their economic stability. This happens through a variety of partner organizations who deliver services on site.  However, the majority of these services happen during the hours of a regular workday, making it very difficult for the targeted working population to engage.  Services that are offered during evening hours are still a struggle for clients to attend due to family conflicts, fatigue after working a full day, and other barriers such as transportation; making it difficult to get to CityLink in time to attend classes or appointments.

CityLink is committed to finding a solution that will allow our working population to access services that will continue to advance their lives.  Therefore, we have worked with our partner organizations to determine appropriate programming that will support our clients in reaching their goals and we will be piloting Saturday hours beginning June 11th.

This also means, we will have Additional Volunteer Opportunities during these Saturdays! We’ll be hosting a special Weekend Volunteer Orientation on Saturday June 4th from 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. here at the Center. To sign up for this orientation, please click here. If you are a current volunteer, no need to attend another orientation! Shifts will be available for signup online soon.


  • CityLink will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of June, July and August.
    • June 11th  & June 25th
    • July 9th & July 23rd
    • August 13th & 27th
  • Summer Saturday Programming to include:
    • New Client Information Session 10:00-12:00 noon
    • Onsite Childcare
    • Cincinnati Works AdvanceYou Career Development Program
    • Per Scholas Network+ Program (must have CompTIA A+ certification)
    • Various SmartMoney Workshops and 1:1 Financial Counseling Appointments
    • ChangingGears Information Sessions, Classes and Sweat Equity
    • Clothing Connection Appointments

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

We’re still  hiring for 5  VISTA roles this year, and one could be perfect for you! The clock is ticking and we are in the final push to garner the best of the best for the next VISTA class.  

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 5  roles we’re hiring for HERE  Workforce Development, Education (Adult and Financial), Social Work, etc] Just scroll to find ‘CityLink Center’.
All applications are due by June 9th; positions start on July 25th.
Anyone that has questions can email
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.


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.