Tue, Jul 28, 2015

Grand Opening Celebration at new CityLink Center home in Greater Cincinnati left attendees impressed

“Awesome”… “Unbelievable”… “Great synergy with CityLink.”

On July 21, technology job-training nonprofit Per Scholas celebrated the grand opening of its new location in the CityLink Center, located in west end Cincinnati. More than 60 guests attended at the Bank Street location to support this new collaboration. Guests toured the technology-training facility, met graduates of the program as well as current students, and learned about Per Scholas’ high-impact technology job training.

“You are doing good and important work here,” Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Mann remarked as a special guest speaker in the program. Others from local city agencies, corporations, and philanthropy joined—with a large presence from the local IT industry.

One feeling was unanimous: “impressed.” Courtney Hodapp, representing JPMorgan Chase, commented on how impressed she was with everything she saw and heard. A representative of Senator Rob Portman stated that she was very impressed with both the program and students.

Per Scholas training graduate Rita Knaff gave remarks at the opening. Prior to Per Scholas she worked in the airline industry for nearly 20 years before being laid off during the economic recession. “After 100 job applications, receiving rejection letter after rejection letter, I knew I needed a new plan.” She found and enrolled in Per Scholas and today works at local IT company Pomeroy as a project coordinator.

Per Scholas and CityLink share a similar mission of helping Greater Cincinnatians break the cycle of poverty. As part of the collaboration, Per Scholas students now have access to on-site childcare during their classes, financial counseling through SmartMoney, private transportation through Changing Gears, counseling with Catholic Charities, and more, that allow students to complete the job training and begin a new career without additional obstacles in the way.

“We needed a place where we can expand and grow in Cincinnati, and provide the many wraparound services that ensures our students are able to fully transform their life. CityLink welcoming us into its network allows for all of that,” said Plinio Ayala, President and CEO of Per Scholas.

CityLink Executive Director, Johnmark Oudersluys, is grateful to have a nationally recognized program join the CityLink collaboration, “We are extremely excited about the synergies our partnership with Per Scholas presents our clients and how it will further our respective missions.”

To date, Per Scholas has enrolled 130 residents from Greater Cincinnati, and employed graduates are already earning approximately $1.8 million dollars collectively.

The Cincinnati location of Per Scholas is part of a national network of sites launched by its New York City based headquarters. Founded in 1995 as a neighborhood-based effort to increase access to personal computers, Per Scholas was an early pioneer in bridging the digital divide for families and children in the South Bronx.

Per Scholas and CityLink plan to serve up to 80 individuals through the IT career training during the first year, with a goal of not only graduating, but placing a minimum of 80% of students in gainful field-related employment opportunities.

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