May 19, 2020

Workforce Innovation Center invests in La Soupe and Cincinnati Works

The Workforce Innovation Center has awarded a total of $208,760 to two local organizations this week, serving the needs of citizens who are working or seeking employment. Cincinnati Works and La Soupe are each providing critical services to get people employed and to build capacity to serve more people in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

One key focus of the Workforce Innovation Center is to serve as a hub to connect employers seeking to hire talent with social solutions organizations directly preparing people to obtain and remain at work. In 2020, the Center is offering limited funds in the form of capacity grants to social solutions providers achieving strong outcomes for companies and the individuals they serve. 

“The social solutions provider community is incredibly important to supporting people navigating these uncertain times, particularly focusing on helping people find quality employment and supporting companies as they move forward. On behalf of the board, it is a privilege for the Workforce Innovation Center to invest in two worthy initiatives that will get people back to work,” said Julia Poston, Chair of the Workforce Innovation Center Advisory Board.

The award to Cincinnati Works uniquely focuses on providing support beyond getting a job, helping its members maintain employment and advance to higher levels of employment and economic self-sufficiency over time. The Workforce Development program has facilitated more than 600 job placements annually, with an average starting wage of more than $13 an hour. Since its beginnings in 1996, over 8,600 people have been prepared to work through job readiness training, and more than 8,100 people have secured employment in over 12,100 jobs.

“We are grateful for the Workforce Innovation Center’s investment in our services to continue to help people find employment, especially during the Covid-19 crisis. The grant will be used to help us strengthen our Workforce Development and Workforce Connection programs so we can get our community back to work, and ultimately improve results for them long-term on their road to self-sufficiency,” said Peggy Zink, President & CEO of Cincinnati Works. 

La Soupe, Inc. delivers rescued perishable food to partner kitchens where their chefs transform it into meals for families and individuals. La Soupe’s Coronavirus response will hire those who are recently unemployed from the restaurant industry, increasing and scaling their ability to prepare and serve food for CPS students, senior citizens, and other vulnerable populations.

“The Workforce Innovation Center’s grant money enables us to utilize restaurant space and professional chef expertise to help us create over 25,000 servings per month, tripling our current offerings and feeding more families in the region at this critical time. Thank you to the Workforce Innovation Center for this opportunity to better serve our community,” said Suzy DeYoung, Founder & Executive Director of La Soupe, Inc. 

In addition to serving as a hub, the Workforce Innovation Center also supports companies to implement inclusive practices that support employees in achieving economic stability and mobility. “As people return to work, we know that companies will need to operate differently in order to be successful and to support their employees. The Workforce Innovation Center is designed to do exactly that and we look forward to partnering with companies who are ready to try new things,” said Audrey Treasure, Executive Director of the Workforce Innovation Center. 
The Workforce Innovation Center has limited funds to award to other social service agencies in 2020. If you are interested in applying for the funds, please contact Audrey Treasure at

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