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Fighting poverty with job readiness

Cincinnati Works takes a holistic approach to employment training, offering lifelong coaching, counseling and education.

Almost one-third of Cincinnati’s residents live in poverty — a fact that Cincinnati Works is intent on changing. The nonprofit’s mission is to help all willing and capable people living in poverty reach economic self-sufficiency through employment.

The centerpiece of its efforts is its Job Readiness program, which offers a broad range of support, helping participants identify their strengths and skills, apply for jobs, understand employer expectations and become comfortable with job interviews. Bank of America funded the Job Readiness program in 2020, making it possible for members to participate in workshops, access computers and meet with coaches.

Cincinnati Works’ assistance doesn’t stop once a person finds a job; the organization provides free lifetime services, including financial literacy coaching so program participants can continue to navigate the road out of poverty. As participants succeed, Cincinnati Works’ programs support them with additional training, whether that means going on to college or building other skills so they can continue to advance in their careers and earn higher incomes. The nonprofit also reaches out to at-risk groups, such as young people transitioning from the foster care system or those who have been exposed to crimes or violence.

As Cincinnati Works sees it, fostering its clients’ economic self-sufficiency benefits not only those individuals but also their communities, as they become taxpayers, role models for their children and productive citizens, breaking the cycle of generational poverty. This program is part of Bank of America’s five-year, $1.25 billion commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity.

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