Job Skills Training & Employment Assistance


"We provide better prepared, better qualified candidates for our employers!"

Rick Wegmann, Executive Director, Miami Valley Works


In 2012, the Greater Dayton Commission on Minority Inclusion, a joint effort between The Dayton Foundation and the Dayton Business Committee combined efforts to work on issues of disparity in our community. The preeminent issues we face in the greater Dayton region are the barriers to moving people from poverty to self-sufficiency.

The Wright State University Center for Urban and Public Affairs conducted a study in August 2012 estimating that there are 55,655 Montgomery County working age citizens who have never worked or have not worked in the last five years. According to the 2014 Montgomery County Needs Assessment, 82,517 Montgomery County citizens lived in poverty; 23.3 percent of children under the age of 18 live in poverty. This assessment also states that 48.1% of Dayton’s children under the age of 18 live in poverty.

The Greater Dayton Commission on Minority Inclusion evaluated the national best practice known as Cincinnati Works, co-founded by Dave Phillips, a business executive and philanthropist in that city. This comprehensive program, now in 10 communities throughout the United States, provides a proven path to self-sufficiency for individuals with the highest barriers to employment and experiencing generational poverty.

Miami Valley Works (MVW), modeled after Cincinnati Works, began offering services in May, 2015.  Participants must graduate from this five day workshop in order to be considered a “Member.”  Workshops are held every other week.

Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley (GESMV) and MVW are committed to assisting members until they are employed with wages of at least 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.  This takes an average of five to seven years. The services of Cincinnati Works extend well beyond initial employment with a 16-year average of employing 312 new people (unduplicated) per year beyond the initial training, coaching, and social service supports. Miami Valley Works will strive for placement of more than 405 (unduplicated) individuals in employment over the three year start-up period at a cost of $1,634 per employee placement.

Why Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley?

In 1934 we opened our doors as a Goodwill affiliate with a mission of assisting people to live independently through job training and job placement services.  Since opening, our Goodwill model has focused on empowering people through the dignity of work. In 1999, Goodwill of Dayton merged with the local Easterseals affiliate, which incorporated additional services focusing on children and adults with disabilities.

Today, GESMV provides a wide variety of assessment, training, work experience, mentoring, job placement, and support programs for youth, adults and seniors. In 2014, GESMV Employment Services served 8,079 persons. Two programs in particular, our Community Employment Program and our Work Experience Program contract with the Montgomery County Department of Job and Family Services and served over 3,000 persons, most of whom would meet the eligibility criteria for the MVW program.   MVW’s staff works closely with all GESMV Workforce Development programs to identify eligible candidates for the Miami Valley Works program.

True to its origins, GESMV looks to help persons break out of chronic, generational and circumstantial poverty and has launched Miami Valley Works as a program model that will:

  • Serve the whole person by addressing all of the barriers that stand in the way of obtaining and retaining employment;
  • View people who are caught in the cycle of generational poverty as a resource for the community;
  • Seek to provide a pathway out of chronic poverty for MVW Members and their families; and
  • Identify and cultivate relationships with “Star Employers” who are seeking qualified job applicants.

A Star Employer is a company who agrees to work in partnership with MVW by:  accepting multiple applicants , providing screening criteria to MVW in order to identify applicants that best meet their employment requirements, work with Employment Coaches to resolve retention issues, and provide medical benefits and a minimum entry wage of $9/hour.

Miami Valley Works’ Executive Director, Rick Wegmann, along with GESMV’s Development Committee will be working with the Miami Valley Works’ Leadership Council to secure the ongoing funding and assist with recruiting Star Employers. The Miami Valley Works Leadership Council, composed of prominent business leaders and other community stakeholders, exists to advise and guide the development and continued operation of Miami Valley Works, including marketing the program to employers, benchmarking outcomes against those of Cincinnati Works, raising funds for the program, developing positive operational linkages with other private and government organizations, and advancing the goals of Miami Valley Works. The Leadership Council must include membership from the GESMV governing Board.

The Miami Valley Works model is designed to produce systemic change for the individual, families and the community by combating the negative effects of poverty.

If you know someone who could benefit from Miami Valley Works' programs or if you would like to use our program model in your community, please contact Mr. Rick Wegmann, Executive Director at 937.528.6484.

To make a tax deductible contribution to Miami Valley Works, visit our Donate page for more information.