Mecca, Project Lift participant
Mecca, Project Lift participant

Constructing A Successful Career with Help from Project Lift

Mecca Lee builds upon the help she received from United Way’s Project Lift.
June 1, 2023

CINCINNATI (June 1, 2023) — One of the best things about working in construction, Mecca Lee said, is seeing daily progress as a project takes shape.

“When I get home, I feel like I accomplished something, and I feel proud of it,” the 45-year-old mother of two said. 

On her birthday last November, Mecca (pronounced MEE-ka) began work for a large Cincinnati-based construction manager/general contractor. “It was the best birthday ever,” she said. “It was pretty much like I was meant to be there.”

For Mecca, landing the full-time job was the culmination of much hard work, including the completion of two intensive construction training programs.

Mecca received more good news when she qualified for a program that helped her get a car so she could get to and from work. She needed car insurance, though, and she couldn’t pay the premiums until she earned a few paychecks.

She then connected with United Way’s Project Lift, which removes barriers so families can attain financial stability. By providing critical, short-term assistance, the program enables families to achieve long-term success.

“The fact that Project Lift was able to pay my insurance for six months was a blessing – a complete, God-given blessing,” Mecca said. She is now financially stable and pays the bills herself.

“There was a time in my life I kind of thought I didn’t matter, that I was just a person here,” she said. As recently as a couple of years ago, she was in a self-described slump. She held a number of jobs over the years, including fielding calls in customer service, but she wasn’t satisfied. 

Her father’s death in July 2021 was a turning point. “My father never told me he was proud of me,” Mecca said. She vowed to change course. “I didn’t want just a job. I wanted a career.” 

She is now a journeyman laborer. She received a raise in the spring. She plans to enter a carpentry apprenticeship program in the fall. “I’ve always liked working with my hands,” she said.

“I get up every morning ready to go to work. This is what I wanted. I also wanted my grandbabies to be able to see me do something with my life.”

In construction, she is building her own path to a better future.

Support Programs Like Project Lift


Project Lift supports families on their journey to financial stability. Project Lift sponsors listen to each families’ challenges, find ways to leverage resources to assist them with short-term needs – rent, food, child care, utilities, transportation, etc. – and provide an ongoing support system as they work to increase their incomes and build long-term economic well-being.


United Way of Greater Cincinnati is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization [Tax ID: 31-0537502]. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Support Programs Like Project Lift

An investment in United Way is an investment in your neighbors and your community.

Through programs like Project Lift, Free Tax Prep, Success By 6® and our 211 Helpline, we strive to help families and individuals in our region have a better chance at economic well-being.

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