Workforce Development

Solid Opportunities for Advancement and Retention (SOAR)

Workforce Picture 2Established in 1998, Solid Opportunities for Advancement and Retention (SOAR) is the Urban League’s flagship workforce development program and has a history of securing employment for the unemployed and underemployed. SOAR’s founding principles address, head-on, the adverse factors that impact the chronically under-served and unemployed. The SOAR program is designed to identify and address the barriers common to ex-offenders and other chronically unemployed people.

The three week program meets Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. – 4p.m. Program components include self-exploration, financial literacy, understanding employer expectations, resume writing skills and online applications. Through workshops and trainings, the program also encompasses labor market information, job search strategies, interviewing techniques and basic computer literacy as well as professional job placement and retention assistance.

Why SOAR Should Matter to You? You should care about SOAR because it is a simple matter of economics. Each year 300 people are admitted into the SOAR program. SOAR’s graduation rate has averaged 81% over the past five years (2007-2012). That is 243 graduates each year. Of that total, 76% go on to earn full-time jobs at an average wage of $10.41/hour. That total translates into 185 people earning $21,625 annually. The cost of running SOAR annually is $250,000. Therefore, the average cost to get someone a job is $1,351. By getting 185 people jobs, $4 million in new revenue is infused into the economy.

Accelerated Call Center Education (ACE)

The Accelerated Call Center Education (ACE) program was developed in 2004 to meet the workforce demands of over 63 call centers located throughout Greater Cincinnati. The program emerged from a project conducted by Leadership Cincinnati Class XXVIII, and has a distinctive pedigree of experts in the fields of training and development and customer service.

This four week program features customized training focused on the call center industry and utilizes the Urban League’s state of the art simulated call center. Participants develop the skills necessary for meaningful and stable employment in the call center industry and are equipped with a balance of technical and soft skills including: communication, problem solving, computer and customer service skills. All of these provide graduates with the foundation necessary for a successful career in the service industry.

Each year, approximately 200 individuals are enrolled into the ACE Program. In 2012, ACE graduated 90% of its participants and 76% of graduates were placed in jobs. ACE graduates earn an average starting salary of $10.48 per hour resulting in an economic impact of approximately $4.4 million dollars.

In order to attend ACE you must first attend an Information Session.

Information sessions are conducted at the Urban League building in Avondale–3458 Reading Road.

Sessions are held:

  • Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesdays at 2:00  p.m.

ACE Program Objectives include enabling Cincinnati businesses to access a pool of pre-trained prospective customer service employees to meet their hiring needs and increase diversity. In addition, participants are able to acquire the skills necessary to obtain meaningful, stable employment that provides a realistic opportunity to build a career.


  • High school diploma or GED may be required
  • No felony convictions
  • No misdemeanor theft or fraud convictions
  • Candidates must attend an information session held

ACE Graduates Are a Perfect Fit for Local Businesses

  • Culturally diverse
  • Pre-screened
  • Pre-Trained
  • Familiar with the customer service environment
  • Equipped with above average computer skills
  • Confident and experienced

Construction Connections

Construction Connections Picture 1Construction Connections is a nine week Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program designed to prepare

participants for a career in the construction industry. The program is a collaboration between the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati and Allied Construction Industries and focuses on soft skill development as well as technical instruction. Upon completion of the 193 hour program, each student will be equipped with:

  • National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core Curriculum Certification
  • Registration into NCCER’s National Registry Occupational Safety & Health Administration

10-Hour Certification (OSHA 10)

  • A New Basic Set of Hand Tools and Protective Equipment Including a Hard Hat and Steel Toe Boots
  • 8 Credit Hours from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

What Construction Connections Provides to Employers in the Region

  • Professional Recruiting and Retention Services
  • Diverse Pool of Credentialed Applicants
  • Training That Meets the Specifications of the Construction Industry
  • Applicants Equipped With Personal and Protective Equipment, Tools and a National Industry Recognized Credential
  • Potential on the Job Training Dollars to Supplement Training Costs
  • OSHA 10 Certified Candidate

Suit Yourself Gentleman’s Clothing Closet

The Suit Yourself Gentleman’s Clothing Closet provides professional business attire and suits to individuals interviewing with prospective employers. Spearheaded by the Urban League, this project was developed in collaboration with MensWearhouse, Cintas, Macy’s and several other local companies. Services are provided to the Urban League’s Workforce Development program participants as well as young gentlemen affiliated with the Urban League.The Suit Yourself Gentlemen’s Clothing Closet started as a conversation among Urban League staff members. We discussed how Cincinnati had an outstanding resource for women in need of professional attire (our partner Dress 4 Success) but had little or no similar resources for men. That’s when we reached out to MensWearhouse and became the Non Profit recipient organization in Cincinnati of their National Suit Drive held every September.

Financial Opportunities Center

FOC PictureThe Financial Opportunities Center (FOC) is a collaborative effort between the United Way and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). The mission of the FOC is to help working families and individuals achieve financial stability and independence.

These one-stop neighborhood-based centers provide a full range of services and support from financial coaching, credit counseling and tax preparation to employment assistance, credit counseling and enrollment in public benefit programs. The Financial Opportunity Center provides individuals and families with services across three critical and interconnected areas: employment services; financial education and coaching; and access to public benefits.

The Financial Opportunity Center focuses on changing financial behaviors, increasing income, reducing expenses, and making appropriate financial decisions that lead to improved credit and asset building.

“We must find solutions that work for our entire community,” says Donna Jones Baker, President/CEO of the Urban League. “The Financial Opportunity Center does just that – it bolsters our economy and provides our community with financially savvy individuals on a journey toward economic self-sufficiency.”

FOC Successes

  • More than 700 people at the FOC received help during the last 12-month period.
  • 654 people received employment coaching
  • 277 people achieved steady employment for at least 90 days
  • 325 people screened and gained access to income-support benefits
  • 521 people received financial coaching
  • 394 people attended financial workshops
  • 178 people took advantage of free tax preparation

“More than 600 people attended financial literacy workshops and coaching sessions at the Urban League last year,” said Ayanna Wallace, FOC Program Manager and Financial Coach at the Urban League.

The After School League is a safe, nurturing and supportive learning environment. We foster interactive academic experiences that help students to develop leadership, social and emotional, and 21st century skills to prepare them to be successful in their educational and professional careers.

The After School League provides services to over 300 students at South Avondale, Rockdale Academy and Woodward Career Technical High School. We provide:

  • Over 2,500 Hours Individual and Group Tutoring in Math and Reading
  • Homework Assistance
  • College Access
  • Ohio Graduation Testing
  • ACT/SAT Preparation
  • Daily Hot Meals

We leverage our partnerships with 32 corporations and organizations in the Greater Cincinnati region to provide cultural enrichment and extra-curricular activities that broaden the academic experience and create a well-rounded student.

The mission of the Urban League is to transform generations by promoting personal empowerment and conomic self-sufficiency. Children who are academically prepared, and who have developed the skills to succeed in life are the first building block for a healthy and vibrant community.

An integral part of student success is having parents and caregivers engaged in and committed to their child’s education. The After School League provides opportunities to better involve parents with a focus on both traditional and unique ways to bring them to the table to help their children to learn, grow and succeed. Dealing with Relevant Issues—PeaceBuilders started in 2011, the After School League integrated a social-emotion curriculum called PeaceBuilders. This collaboration with the Community Police Partnering Center incorporates a science based, research validated, violence prevention curriculum designed to create a common language for peace. The model sets behavior expectations and transforms the climate and culture into one that is cooperative, productive and academically successful.

These Companies are Transformational Supporters of the Urban League’s Corporate Heritage Annual Giving Program.