Oberlin, Ohio, November 3, 2016

Oberlin Community Services is a responsive community organization.  We are one of the largest food pantries in Lorain County, but for our Moms we are much more than that.  We are a community center and a place of hope.  We have embraced the challenges of jobs, childcare, transportation and domestic violence.

Today we celebrate with our third cohort of single mothers seeking more substantial employment with 13 women who have completed the job training program, following 26 women in our two previous cohorts.  As a result of this United Way of Lorain County WE3 Collaborative:  Women Empowered, Educated and Employed, we are seeing hope in the eyes of these women and their children. The women have completed the National Career Readiness Certificate, which is the exam now favored by local employers (over the GED) for demonstrating employability.  The test was administered with Ohio Means Jobs support at the Lorain County Joint Vocational School.   Most importantly, local employers including Agrinomix, General Plug, Western Reserve Land Conservancy and Oberlin IGA have hired our women.

WISE Pathways was created by HHW Ohio with support from AmeriCorps, the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, and the Center for Energy Workforce Development. Funding to launch this program as an initiative of Oberlin Community Services was provided by HHW Ohio through a grant from the Honor Project.

The results take on a more human dimension when one considers personal stories.  For instance, one of our moms (who has three children) was working the night shift as an STNA.  Following the training, she started work during the day shift, earning two dollars more per hour and with benefits!  She will also work in Lorain County instead of Cuyahoga County, easing her transportation burden.  Three of our moms and their children are no longer homeless.  Six were employed to complete a land survey project.

The previous cohort of moms participated in training and mock interviews with Columbia Gas in preparation for their next hiring wave for real jobs with full time employment, a car and benefits.  Yes, the women are here and so are the jobs in Lorain County.  Your support is truly changing lives for generations.  We thank you for your support.    Can we count on you to join us?

Cynthia H. Andrews
Executive Director
Oberlin Community Services
285 S. Professor Street
Oberlin, OHIO 44074

You can learn more about HHW Ohio at www.hhwohio.org