A meaningful life begins with meaningful work.

There’s something truly transformative about the dignity found in meaningful work. Having a job can give an individual the means and the motivation to overcome past adversities, provide for loved ones, and achieve their dreams.

A meaningful life begins with meaningful work.

There’s something truly transformative about the dignity found in meaningful work. Having a job can give an individual the means and the motivation to overcome past adversities, provide for loved ones, and achieve their dreams.

Cincinnati Works will partner with all willing and capable people living in poverty to assist them in advancing to economic self-sufficiency through employment.

We will lead the effort to eliminate poverty in our community.

As a non-profit with a mission of ending poverty in our region, we are guided by core values that inform our people, programs, and partnerships.

  • Work for the WOW!
  • Own the future
  • Ring the bell
  • Keep standards high
  • See the U in humanity

At Cincinnati Works, we are committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for our Members, Staff and Board. Together we are building an inclusive culture that encourages, supports and celebrates the diverse perspectives and voices of our Members, Staff and Board. This inspires us to try new things, take smart risks, speak openly and be bold in our words and actions in support of CW’s mission to eliminate poverty.

Partner Testimonials

Impact Reports

Cincinnati Works operates by standard business principles and is a results-driven, research-oriented organization. To get an in-depth look at what we’ve accomplished over the last year, we invite you to download a copy of our annual report.

If you would like more information, please contact us at 513.744.WORK (9675) or info@cincinnatiworks.org.


Job Readiness is the core program at Cincinnati Works. It helps our Members take a step back, identify their strengths and skills, then move forward with specific goals and a strategy in mind.

For most Members, Job Readiness begins with a three-day JumpStart workshop, where they learn employer expectations, define their professional strengths, then practice presenting those strengths during mock interviews.

All Members are paired with an employment coach who serves as a guide during the job search, helping Members find leads and prepare for interviews. We also have a bank of computers available for Members to use at no cost when searching or applying for jobs, along with a staff member who will assist them with online applications.

Our Members often come to us carrying years of personal and professional baggage that makes it difficult to reach economic self-sufficiency. Some populations require additional services from uniquely qualified coaches.

Our Phoenix Program works with individuals in (or at risk of falling into) a life of crime and violence, and it offers them an alternative, including mentoring and leadership opportunities.

Financial literacy is often the missing link to establishing economic self-sufficiency. We have full-time financial coaches who provide a range of FREE financial services to our Members, including:

  • Budgeting
  • Understanding & Building Credit
  • Tax Preparation
  • Saving & Checking Accounts
  • Debt Resolution
  • Accessing Loans

For Members who have demonstrated a level of professional stability – most commonly by achieving one year of steady employment with the same employer – the Advance You program offers another step toward self-sufficiency.

Through Advance You, our coaches assist Members in pursuing additional skills training, attending college, or developing specific interpersonal skills, which helps them advance in their careers and increase their pay.

Our History

Cincinnati Works began with the goal of eliminating poverty in our community.

After retiring from a successful career as an accountant, consultant, and business leader, Dave Phillips and his wife, Liane, began researching organizations across the country that addressed poverty through employment. They found that the most successful organizations focused on job retention and advancement rather than simply job placement. So they formed Cincinnati Works in 1996 on a model of one-on-one coaching.

More than 20 years later, coaching remains the backbone of the organization. Our staff works daily with our Members (clients) to identify their strengths and goals while honing the skills they need to succeed in the workplace. We partner with more than 75 employers who not only hire our Members but work with us to help them forge careers. We also partner with other non-profit agencies who help our Members address a range of challenges that might otherwise hinder them. We have served more than 8,000 of our neighbors, and more than 70 percent of the Members who earn a job are able to hold it for a year or more.

In recent years, Dave Phillips has worked with community leaders across the country to replicate the Cincinnati Works Business Model in other cities. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Works staff continues to fine-tune and adapt our programs to meet the ever-changing needs of our neighbors in poverty.


The Board of Trustees provides the fiduciary and directional oversight of Cincinnati Works. It assists in the public relations of the organization by spreading the word about Cincinnati Works in the community and by contributing individual skills to support the staff.

The Young Professionals Board plays an important role in advocating and fundraising for Cincinnati Works, ensuring that the organization has the means to fulfill its mission of eliminating poverty through employment. If you are interested in learning more, please contact cincinnatiworksypgroup@gmail.com.

David Herche, Enerfab

Lead Director
Lee Stautberg, Dinsmore

Eric Lanter, JP Morgan Chase

Gerron McKnight, The E.W. Scripps Company

Tianay Amat, Cincinnati Works
Jim Benedict, Government Strategies Group
Dan Best, Total Quality Logistics
Brian Carley, Clubessential LLC
Thomas Gilman, Gilman Partners
Dana Glasgo, Cincinnati Career Coach
Tom Hardy, Unity Financial Life Insurance
Danyele Harris-Thompson, Kao Corporation
Thuy Kolik, Lighthouse Youth & Family Services
Ian Owens, Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel
Dave Phillips, Board Emeritus, Cincinnati Works Co-founder
Liane Phillips, Cincinnati Works Co-founder
Greg Purdon, Grote Enterprises LLC
Mike Schott, Built to Lead
James Strayhorn, Bright Star Community Church
Carol Walker, Kroger

Sam Anderson
Austin Baker
Cory Bultema
Amanda Changet
Megh Desai
Dylan Grueninger
Chris Hikel
Jeff Hochwalt
Chris Kober
Ian Owens
Eric Richelson
Michelle Rowekamp
David Stewart
Edwin Ulysse
Kristin Williams