Cincinnati Works Brings Hope, Jobs to Those in Need

Cincinnati Works Brings Hope, Jobs to Those in Need

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(left to right) Carol Buschhaus, Cincinnati Works Workshop Facilitator & Volunteer Coordinator;
Becky Scheeler, a long-time Cincinnati Works volunteer; Peggy Zink, Cincinnati Works President.

Cincinnati Works is truly living up to its name, as it offers a holistic approach to eliminating poverty in the Tri-State area by providing job skills training and ongoing employment counseling.


Founded by Dave and Liane Phillips in 1996, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization brings hope and encouragement to people living in poverty, through a network of job services and employer partnerships. In fact, Cincinnati Works has assisted more than 5,000 people in beginning their journey to economic self-sufficiency.


“Between the years of 2008 and 2012, Cincinnati Works helped 1,645 members secure employment, facilitating 2,732 placements,” says Eric Cepela, Cincinnati Works’ Marketing Coordinator. “This does not take into account job acquisition that may have resulted from our Job Readiness program that was not facilitated through the following one-on-one coaching. It also does not take into account the ripple effect.”


Essentially, the organization offers members lifetime access to employer partners while providing them with comprehensive support services, such as one-one-one employment coaching, legal advocacy, transportation assistance, and guidance in financial literacy. In addition, Cincinnati Works partners with other organizations in the community to enhance these services and further help members overcome barriers to employment.


Cincinnati Works serves two types of clients: Individuals in the community who are currently unemployed or underemployed; and employers who have entry level positions. “The short-term goal for the unemployed is to help them stabilize in a job that pays $8 to $11 per hour with health benefits,” says Cepela.


Cincinnati Works members are required to complete a six-day workshop. After the workshop, they begin job search and working one-on-one with their employment coach and other service providers. “It is lifetime membership,” explains Cepela, “or as long as the individual wants to remain a member and utilize the services.”


Assisting an individual to reach economic self-sufficiency creates a break in the cycle of poverty and develops a positive role model, constructive environment, networking opportunities, and educational opportunities for others in the community – especially for the individual’s family.


“We do not work directly with minors but we work with their parents and guardians, the source from which many children model their soft skills and work ethic,” says Cepela.


There are various volunteer opportunities with Cincinnati Works, as well. According to Cepela, in order to be a mentor you must be at least 25 years old. Those 18 and older can sign up to be a volunteer. You must have a clean criminal history and be drug free. You also need to have an interest in working with young people. Lastly, you have to stay positive, patient, supportive and encouraging.


“At Cincinnati Works, we provide a Job Readiness Workshop, which prepares participants to obtain and retain employment,” says Carol Buschhaus, Volunteer Coordinator for Cincinnati Works. “The ongoing need is Mock Interviewers to role play job interviews.”


According to Buschhaus, the Interviewer interviews 3-4 people and provides written and verbal feedback. These interviews are held on Fridays from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. “It is best if the interviewers are from Human Resources and/or have experience interviewing,” adds Buschhaus. “If someone could help once a month, it makes a huge difference.”


In addition, the Career Advancement program hosts Career Club, held on rotating Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. “We are looking for presenters to discuss topics such as management, interviewing skills, critical thinking, entrepreneurship, and professional image. This would be in a small group setting,” says Buschhaus.


Cepela and Buschhaus both agree that volunteering for Cincinnati Works can be rewarding not only to the person receiving the guidance, but to the person providing the support. “It is a way to give back to the community and make a difference in the lives of others,” Buschhaus adds.


For more information on Cincinnati Works, visit