Training and Employing People to Help Others

Photo provided by Mercy Neighborhood Ministries


“We have a tagline here,” smiles Suzanne Kathman, executive director of Mercy Neighborhood Ministries. “It’s ‘educating for life, training for employment and helping seniors age in place.’ ”

Taking their inspiration from the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Neighborhood Ministries aims to make individuals self-sufficient through vocational training with a special focus on disadvantaged women and senior citizens.

They have many programs in place to reach this goal, including their Home Care Aide Training program that enables its students to work by helping older adults living in underserved neighborhoods. The three-week course equips students to provide nursing services and compassionate companionship.

“Our student population for HCAT is primarily made up of women, the majority are between 20 and 35 years old and come from families of generational poverty,” Kathman says. “Many of the students have a history of unsuccessful completion of basic education and may currently be dependent on public support, but are striving to move toward self-sufficiency.

“This program addresses two complimentary community needs. One is a shortage of home-care aides and the other is the need for an opportunity to train an at-risk population and help them retain entry-level employment.”

After a HCAT student successfully passes the 21 skills tests, graduates attend a job fair organized by five home-care agencies that have partnered with Mercy Neighborhood Ministries to offer employment opportunities.

“Together with our partner agencies, we’ve identified a set of barriers that keep students from transitioning into employment,” says Kathman. “We saw that graduates struggled with covering the costs of a required tuberculosis test, physical exams, additional background checks and transportation to interviews or orientations. We now assure these pre-employment requirements are met before graduation and offer transportation support for the first two months.”

Kathman will be the first to admit that her organization wouldn’t be able to accomplish their goals and better the lives of their students without the help of others in the community. Western & Southern Financial Group is one of their longtime partners. 

“Mercy Neighborhood Ministries strives to improve the quality of life for those living in disadvantaged circumstances with the ultimate goal to make Cincinnati a better place for all of us,” says José Marques, Western & Southern’s advertising and media relations manager. 

“Western & Southern has been committed to making Cincinnati the best place to live, work and really enjoy life. Through different means, our organizations both work to make Cincinnati the best place it can be, for all of us.” 


Mercy Neighborhood Ministries is located at 1602 Madison Road, Suite 200, Cincinnati, OH 45206. For more information, call 513.751.2500 or visit