Saturday, July 29, 2000

Neighborhoods


A boost back into job world

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        Through Project Advance, Kimberly Underwood is getting a second chance to enter the work force. She works in central filing at Fifth Third Bank.

        Things didn't look so good two years ago.

        “I had completed two years of college, but I had to drop out to have a baby,” she said. “I was worried about reestablishing myself and getting back into the work force.”

        Ms. Underwood is a 27-year-old single mother with one child. In February she enrolled in Project Advance, a program that concentrates on basic computer skills.

        “It really helped me because I was able to update what I had learned. I don't think I would have been able to get this far in the work force had it not been for Project Advance. With the computer field changing so rapidly, the skills I had learned at Cincinnati Tech (State Technical and Community College) several years ago were probably outdated,” she said.

        Ms. Underwood is part of the 8,368 Ohio Work First caseload in Hamilton County that is being prepared and processed to get off welfare.

        The Hamilton County Human Services Department has projected to move 229 cases off welfare by October, 144 in November and 142 in December.

        Project Advance is helping to achieve that goal. “We were started two years ago and our goal is to make people as self-sufficient as we can,” said Twinkle Dawson, project manager. “We enrolled from 175 to 250 people a year and so far we have been able to get about 75 percent employed.”

        Ms. Underwood learned it wasn't easy to re-enter the work force.

        “Project Advance helps because it also offers counseling in job readiness, job retention, how to get along with people and how to handle a problem if you have one on the job,” she said.

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        Volunteers are needed to help with the fifth annual Corryville Family Festival and Slam Dunk contest, from noon to 8 p.m., Aug. 26.

        Activities will be held on the grounds of the Corryville Recreation Center, 240 E. University Ave. They include talent competition, an African dance group, singing groups, drill teams, and the slam dunk contest, which starts at 3 p.m.

        To volunteer, call 281-2306.

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        The city of Cincinnati was recognized among 20 cities and counties for air quality innovation in a report released this week in Washington.

        The study was done by the National Association of Local Government Environmental Professionals (NALGEP).

        It recognized Cincinnati for launching a program in partnership with the Regional Ozone Coalition and BP Oil to replace leaking gas caps.

        NALGEP said leaking gas caps release volatile organic compounds, an ozone smog, into the atmosphere and can waste $30 worth of gas per vehicle every year through evaporation.

        Cincinnati's program replaced more than 23,000 gas caps, reducing the ozone smog by about 1,300 tons. • • ›

        Mount Washington Presbyterian Church celebrated its mortgage payoff last weekend by donating money and labor to build affordable housing.

        The church donated $50,000 to Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity to build a house at 4385 Eastern Ave., Columbia Tusculum.

        Allen Howard's column runs on Saturdays. Call: 768-8362. Mail: The Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.

       



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