We work with leaders and organizers that are seeking opportunities to improve their decision-making through community engagement, qualitative research, and sustained engagement. Our grassroots organizing model allows us to bring everyday experts and decision makers together for meaningful, idea-driven conversations that produce results. View our case studies to learn more.
Case Study: Centering Community Voices and Racial Equity: Cincinnati Public Schools
Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) is one of the largest and most diverse school districts in the state of Ohio. This makes bringing the voices of students and parents into the decision making process at the district-wide level imperative—and uniquely difficult. When the events of 2020 brought a new depth of challenge, highlighting racial injustice and exacerbating educational inequity, CPS deepened its partnership with Cohear in order to seek out everyday expertise on these critical issues.
Sector: Workforce Services
Case Study: A Better Workforce Pipeline informed by Everyday Expertise: OhioMeansJobs
OhioMeansJobs (OMJ) at Hamilton County Job and Family Services recognized a twofold problem: many workers without four-year degrees are caught in a cycle of low wages and high turnover in volatile sectors, such as leisure and hospitality. Yet, employers in industries like logistics, the building trades, and manufacturing struggle with staffing shortages despite often offering stable career paths for this demographic. Equity concerns are central to these problems, since more minorities lack degree qualifications compared to white peers, and many high-demand industries (e.g. construction) can be heavily male-dominated.
Sector: Public Health
Case Study: Getting Ohio Vaccinated by Listening First
The COVID-19 vaccines were created in record time and saved countless lives, and yet close to half the U.S. population refused to get inoculated, in part due to deep-rooted distrust in the medical system which early messaging only exacerbated. In Cincinnati and Columbus, the neighborhoods with the lowest vaccine uptake rates were predominantly Black, Latino, and new American—some of the same communities already experiencing disproportionately high rates of fatality due to COVID-19.
Case Study: Setting Community Insights in Motion: SORTA/Metro
High quality transit ensures that people of every age, ability, and income level can access the full breadth of what their communities have to offer, but in Cincinnati, the car has long been the default mode of transportation. The Southwest Ohio Transit Authority (SORTA) partnered with Cohear because they knew that their Cincinnati Metro bus system could provide better service immediately by listening to the feedback and ideas of the community. These same shifts can help bring in new riders, and ultimately, kick off the culture change necessary to transform a city from car-centered to people-centered.
Case Study: Housing
Stable, affordable housing is the foundation of a thriving life, but remains sadly out of reach for many residents of Ohio’s cities. Black and brown communities are disproportionately impacted by affordable housing shortages and discriminatory policies, including the legacy of decades of redlining, restrictive covenants, and highway construction. As demand and need for housing continue to drastically outstrip supply, increasing wealth inequality will only exacerbate the critical lack of safe, affordable housing. With a focus on how policymakers should pursue development that mitigates the risks of displacement while intentionally serving the needs of existing residents, Cohear has conducted extensive community engagement—both pro bono and with our client partners—to hear what the everyday experts want and need when it comes to housing.