Local Leadership At National Level

It is always exciting to see Cincinatians making an impact beyond our community, so I was inspired to read the address that Pete Strange, the Board Director of the National Fund for Workforce Development gave to that group at their annual meeting.  Several key points resonate heavily with CityLink’s mission and strategy:

  • “The true competition is for the next generation of talent.” – for our neighbors, community, and ourselves to flourish we all need to be invested in talent development.

We are excited to see the public opening of Social OTR as the training ground for the next generation of Chefs.  The collaborative with Findlay Market and CityLink’s on-site partners the program combines classroom instruction, culinary instruction, and a 3-month internship to train people for culinary careers in top local restaurants.

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  • “It is time to move from talking to action.” – it is time for us to act together, businesses with social services to develop solutions to connect individuals with market opportunities

Our collaborative moved from exploring an opportunity with Jeff Monin from Structured Innovations to implementing a pilot within a few months.  The pilot class trained for new careers as Cable Technicians under the umbrella of PerScholas’ services and 2/3 of the class had offers immediately upon graduation, we are excited to scale that training program in 2019.

  • “it is absolutely certain that our enterprises will thrive if—and only if—we find a path to representing internally the demographics of the communities we serve.” – we must seek ways to engage individuals traditionally overlooked or excluded from opportunity.

PerScholas continues to expand its training for underrepresented individuals to enter a career in IT through their traditional A+ and Net+ programs or through innovative partnerships with Ingage Partners


We are also fortunate to have CEO on-site, a program that helps individuals returning from incarceration re-enter the workforce through their best-practice program of transitional employment.  Individuals learn on their crews and graduate to full-time positions at employers throughout the city.

At CityLink we are wholeheartedly running after Peter’s call to action, “We must take the work you (workforce development community) are doing to scale. You have proven that employer-centered, intermediary-supported, growth-focused career pathways create the foundation to successfully engage job candidates in lifelong value creation. We must find a path to engage more employers and serve more workers.”

Join us in creating more career pathways and more opportunities for our neighbors and community to thrive.  Donate.  Volunteer.  Engage.


Wired for the Future

We are relentlessly pursuing opportunities for clients to have a path to a better future.

Over the past 5 years we have seen how technical or industry training can open the doors to a truly different trajectory for a clients’ career options, so we are working to offer more of those options.

New career pathways come to fruition as a combination of providence, evaluation, partnership, and timing…as is the case with our latest pilot, Cable Technician Training….which we will launch with PerScholas November 26th. In just 4 weeks, students will learn the necessary skills to work in homes and businesses to install and repair telecommunications cables. This could include phone lines, internet cables, or cable television… and this is just the beginning!

A friend of the center (from one of our church partners), Jeff, first mentioned a cable tech career pathway about a year ago.  He explained about how individuals could learn how to wire buildings and offices, then enter a field with high demand and great wages.  A study conducted by a Fidelity team, managed by Common Impact, evaluated over 30 career pathways and Cable Technician Track made it through the rigorous vetting process.

Our existing IT Training provider, PerScholas, excitedly agreed to pilot the program as an expansion of their portfolio and already have employer partners seeking these skill sets.  With a template for industry training created, our partners (CPS, CincinnatiWorks, and SmartMoney) quickly rallied to support the month-long pilot.

Working together we can see meaningful opportunities come to fruition for our neighbors and our community.

We are currently recruiting students for this program starting November 26th. Call CityLink at 513-357-2000 or visit perscholas.org/cincinnati to apply!


Just Add Students

The curriculum is finalized, our partners are ready, our first class is enlisted, and the kitchen is set.

Today, the first class of Findlay Culinary Training will bring to life an idea and a vision that was born a decade ago in New Orleans.  The culinary training program will provide a combination of life skills and industry skills for one month at CityLink and then students will progress to a 3 month internship at Social OTR.

We have benefited from tremendous guidance by Cafe Reconcile in New Orleans and Edwin’s in Cleveland Ohio, who graciously shared about their programs and helped guide our formation of Findlay Culinary Training.

The industry training track is the next level of our collaboration’s work together.  Through the culinary training program Cincinnati Public School’s Aspire program will provide culinary math, CincinnatiWorks will provide job readiness, SmartMoney will provide financial education, RedBike & Changing Gears will assist with transportation, and Center for Employment Opportunities which will coach students on talking about their past.  PerScholas helped advise us on the interview process and Children Inc will provide childcare for parents entering the program.

Findlay Market’s talented Culinary Training Director will instruct students over the next 4 weeks through curriculum which has been informed by an amazing group of restaurants on our advisory council.

Thank you to the Emery Foundation and Crossroads church for funding our kitchen updates to begin this program.

Our goal is to equip students to realize their talents and potential, and we look forward to them shaping Cincinnati’s culinary future.   Working together we can see meaningful pathways open for our neighbors.

Let’s Get Cooking

To prepare for the new culinary training program, the CityLink kitchen has gotten some upgrades.

A new hood, new range, new stove are in the process of getting installed.  Other equipment is being ordered.  The space will provide industry skills training 20-hours a week for the month-long training, while in-house partners will provide an additional 20-hours of life skills to set up the graduates for lasting success.  Once at full capacity, cohorts of 10 students will start each month, then graduate into the 3-month apprenticeship at Social OTR.  Thanks to Crossroads Church and the Emery Foundation for investing in these upgrades.

Be the Change – Job Openings

Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and get into the critical work of serving our neighbors at CityLink Center?

Two of our partners have openings which could allow you to jump full force into our collective mission to transform lives and our community.  Check out the openings at Changing Gears and CEO, click here to learn more and potentially start a brand new career.

Let your voice be heard

Peeling back the onion on all of the challenges that our neighbors face is complex.  On top of the immediate barriers of transportation, education, access to employment; there are institutional barriers that can literally prevent our clients from getting ‘unstuck’.  One of those barriers is access to banking and affordable lending but fortunately there is a chance that meaningful reform may happen in Ohio.

The AP reported that “On average, a payday loan takes 36% of a person’s pre-tax paycheck, Bourke said. ‘Customers simply cannot afford to pay that back and still afford their other financial obligations,’ he said. ‘This is why you see people ending up borrowing the loans over and over again.”

Furthermore, “Fifteen states either ban payday loans or cap interest rates at 36%. Without a limit on interest rates, competition among lenders does not tend to lower rates much, according to the research.”

“Currently Payday loans in Ohio are the most expensive in the nation, with an astounding typical annual percentage rate (APR) of 591%.   Ohio’s House of Representatives has passed House Bill 123 (HB 123) passed by a vote of 71-16 with bipartisan support for meaningful reform of payday lending.”  The bill has wide support and “builds on reforms that were approved in 2008 by approximately two-thirds of Ohioans who cast ballots. It would cap interest rates on payday loans at 28% and allow a maximum monthly fee of $20, providing affordable payments for borrowers and reasonable profits for lenders. The balanced legislation that passed the House would save Ohioans more than $75 million annually while preserving access to credit for borrowers.” according to the Ohio Community Development Corporation Association.

It is now up to the Ohio Senate, legislators who are in office to serve us, so let your voice be heard.  If you believe we should have sensible payday lending reform, let them know the simple message of support HB123:

Sen. Lou Terhar  – terhar@ohiosenate.gov           614-466-8068

Sen. Steve Wilson –  wilson@ohiosenate.gov       614-466-9737

Sen. Cecil Thomas – Thomas@ohiosenate.gov     614-466-5980




Getting from Point A to Point B

Lack of connectivity between good paying jobs and people who need them is a huge hindrance to our community.

The lack of transportation connectivity inhibits the ability for our clients to attain better wages at locations that are off the public transit system while stifling growth of businesses who are starved for talent.

This morning we engaged in two exciting conversations:

  • We invited Chariot to Cincinnati to engage with local businesses and organizations to evaluate their market driven, flexible solution for connecting employees to employers.  We learned about the company’s successful launch in SanFrancisco, Austin, Seattle, NewYork, and Columbus and hope that we build enough momentum for a local launch in Cincinnati.  This could open the doors to higher wage jobs and a broader talent pool for local corporations.


  • Beacon of Hope connects companies to hiring of individuals with criminal records, and continues to make great strides in expanding the benefit of 2nd chance hiring to more companies.  During their monthly update, several companies shared how individuals with felonies have become their most reliable and trusted employees.  This is not only a wonderful story of redemption but also an incredible story of economic opportunity as companies are forced to find new pools of talent in a tight labor market.


Opportunities to work with thoughtful and pragmatic organizations like these give us hope that our community will continue investing and supporting in the rungs of the ladder for our neighbors.  Systemic challenges of transportation and recidivism can be overcome….and we will lean into any effort to see innovative solutions brought to our community.

If not us, Who? If not now, When?

As we remember Martin Luther King, we need to rekindle the urgency to see his dream of people being judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

At CityLink, we get to see our neighbors take the brave steps towards reaching their full potential through the incredible partners we have in one location.  We get to see relationships form across racial and socio-economic lines, where those lines blur and people see one another as the beautifully inspired creation of God.

We have seen over 1,000 people in the last year engage towards a better life….and we need YOUR help.  You can become a part of the movement by taking the brave step to improve your own life or support a neighbor on their journey.  Join us now.


New Year, New Job?

Happy 2018!

We are excited to ring in the new year and also find that special someone to join our team in a client service role.

If you are interested (or know someone who is) in working full-time to support our mission, check out the job descriptions at: https://citylinkcenter.org/about-us/careers

Our team runs hard after God’s call and our opportunity to see our neighbors reach their full potential through providing holistic and client centered services.

All applicants should send a resume and cover letter to HR@citylinkcenter.org


Prevailing Heroism

Tonight our partner, the Tristate Veteran Community Alliance (TVCA) hosted Veteran Reflections: a night of story telling and honoring veterans.  We had the extreme honor of hearing living history from 9 brave men and women who served our armed forces from the landing at Normandy thru current engagements in Afghanistan.

The night focused on helping to close the widening gap between our military veterans and our civilian population.  In World War II about 11% of Americans served in the military and the collective consciousness of the war was at the forefront of daily life back home and abroad.  In contrast our modern day conflicts are comprised of 0.5% of our population and our national attention and news media cycles devote more coverage (literally) to celebrity break-ups than our longest lasting military engagement.

Each of the veterans (who service spanned every major conflict since WWII) shared their story, what service meant to them, what they took away from their time, and how their service has shaped their lives.  A common thread ran through the stories: a sense of purpose, a recognition of being a part of a greater cause, an immense gratitude for returning home to our nation, and a deep humility that pointed to other comrades who made immense sacrifices in their midst.

One serviceman read a blog from a friend, written days before a scheduled return home from Afghanistan, which was tragically never realized.  I encourage you to read this blog to gain insights to the lives of those who honorably serve.

We can thank our heroes by welcoming them home, asking to hear their experience (if they are ready to share), support their transitions home, volunteering with veteran focused groups, and urging our politicians to ensure the men and women in uniform are supported abroad and at home.  Learn more at www.tristatevca.org

Thanks to my father and all others who have served our nation.