Recent News

May 08, 2014

Aspen Ascend names United Way of Greater Cincinnati to national network

CINCINNATI – United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC) has been named a member of the Aspen Institute Ascend Network, a new network of leading organizations using two-generation approaches to disrupt poverty and create economic mobility for families.

UWGC will receive a $25,000 grant for a two-generational strategy that will use design thinking to increase the number of low-income women working in advanced manufacturing careers and involve their children in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning.

"Good family-sustaining jobs are going unfilled, children do not pursue in-demand education pathways, and more families are slipping into poverty. We want to try a new approach to getting answers and we are excited that Aspen Ascend is taking a leap with us into the unknown," says Ross Meyer, UWGC vice president of community impact.

Surveys by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that only 35 percent of Americans would encourage their children to pursue careers in manufacturing, despite the benefits. Additionally, 75 percent of women working in the sector agree it’s an interesting and rewarding career, but only 20 percent believe enough is being done to promote the work to women and girls, especially in K-12 outreach.

"We want to improve our practice so more low-income women obtain work in advanced manufacturing and families embrace the importance of STEM learning," says Janice Urbanik, Partners for a Competitive Workforce executive director. "Beyond low-income mothers obtaining a decent job, this project will change the trajectory of families by encouraging education and career planning for all generations.

United Way-managed Partners for a Competitive Workforce will lead the project in partnership with Gateway Community and Technical College, Brighton Center, 4C for Children, Design Thinking Cincy, and the Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative/UC Fusion Center. Learnings from the project will be shared with all partners in United Way’s 10-county region facing the same challenges.

UWGC is one of the initial 50+ organizations, selected from more than 24 states, that represent the leading edge of a national movement around two-generation approaches. Two-generation approaches look at the whole family’s needs and provide opportunities for children and their parents together.

See the complete list of Ascend Network members at

Image Courtesy of The Aspen Institute