Friday, March 09, 2001

Welfare-to-work hopes raised

Program aims to help women

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A group of about 25 women sat dressed in business attire Thursday at the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati with hopes of landing a job.

        They were participating in a program called Back on Track, which helps those who are ready to move from welfare to work.

        After morning sessions on how to write a resume, and how to find day care and transportation, participants listened to prospective employers outline the jobs they have available.

        Companies included Frisch's Restaurants, Radisson Hotel of Cincinnati, Marriott, and August Groh & Sons, a janitorial service.

        Karen Dudley, human resources director at the Radisson, said the participants make a great pool of applicants.

        “You still get a quality candidate who just needs some encouragement,” she said. “If you're willing to put in the time and energy, nine out of 10 times when you give them that opportunity they stay there.”

        Back on Track is a program presented by Families Aiming, Maintaining and Excelling.

        The intense case-management program is specifically designed for those Ohio Work First recipients who are reaching their time limits for government assistance.

        Each month, the Hamilton County Department of Human Services refers case assignments to the Urban League. Case managers work with the welfare recipients to prepare them for when the government assistance they are receiving stops.

        Back on Track is just one of the programs used to help participants find employment.

        “I love it,” said Keiamesha Black, a 20-year-old from Mount Lookout. “It's the best thing. They train you to go out in the real world.”

        Ms. Black said the program has helped her enroll at Southwestern Ohio College of Business and Technology and to look for a job.

        “These last two months have changed my life,” she said.


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