What's Working? Cincinnati Works Helps Former Outlaws Find Work - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

What's Working? Cincinnati Works Helps Former Outlaws Find Work

Bells are ringing at Cincinnati Works because one of their members just found work.

"I am very proud," said Behavioral Health Specialist Jacque Edmondson. "I'm proud of the work because I think giving someone a job is a great gift."

In September they rang the bell for Michael Powers. Restaurant Depot hired him just five days after he graduated from their job program.

"My job? Oh I love my job, love it. I'm more of a mentor, one of the oldest guys there," Powers said.

Powers' wisdom doesn't just come from age. He just quit his old job.

"I used to be a drug dealer. I though it was what I wanted to do. but after a while it got old. Prison life is just no life," Powers said. "You might as well put someone in a box."

Cincinnati Works created the Phoenix Job Program to help people off the streets and into the office. The program's week-long workshop teaches job skills like interviewing and writing resumes. More importantly, it encourages those on the wrong side of the law to do right.

Edmondson knows the economy is tough. That's why she gives her members tough love.

"If you want to help yourself, we're here for you. if you want to be picked up and coddled, we don't do that," Edmondson said.

Edmondson has worked at Cincinnati Works for ten years. But she's glad most of her members have moved on.

"I've had some members, you wouldn't recognize them today. When they came through they were critical, angry, had a negative world view, belligerent. [That] to getting an apartment, having a job, and getting a degree."

Powers is telling his story to new Phoenix members in hopes they write a better one.

"I'm an open book. I remember my mistakes so I don't repeat them. You know this is where I came from, if I can make it anyone can make it."

- Stephanie Woods

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