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Greater Cleveland Career Consortium aims to connect NE Ohio students with local jobs & careers

CMSD CEO Eric Gordon (center) flanked by two students
Jenny Hamel
Ideastream Public Media
CMSD CEO Eric Gordon with former CMSD student Jose Burgos and current student Jaylin Brown. Both students received workforce training in high school.

Northeast Ohio has tens of thousands of unfilled jobs in sectors like manufacturing and IT. Educators and business leaders announced Tuesday a new workforce initiative called the Greater Cleveland Career Consortium with the aim of ensuring high school graduates are ready for and connected to those jobs.

Lincoln Electric, MetroHealth and Sherwin Williams are just a few of the companies in Northeast Ohio that are hungry for talent and will be a part of the consortium.

The point is to educate students about the jobs that are available. Andrea Vullo, who will serve as a director for the consortium, says students throughout the region will be introduced to different careers as early as sixth grade.

“They need to understand jobs, right? And they need to know that you can be a maintenance technician or you can be a computer programmer, or you can be a sterile processor at one of the hospital systems,” Vullo said.

As students get older, Vullo says, their opportunities will expand to internships, shadowing and skills training.

Tiffany Short with MetroHealth says there is such a dire need for nurses in the region that they’re offering big incentives to recruit talent.

“We have programs in place to even support those who may not start off in nursing, but if they want to go back to school, they can leverage tuition reimbursement and other programs that we have in place for them to do that,” Short said.

At the Career Consortium launch Tuesday hosted at Lincoln Electric, Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon told the crowd of hundreds that neither educators nor employers alone can get students workforce ready.

It's, instead, employers, educators, nonprofits, philanthropy, public entities, the city and the county all in this room. All of us can create an ecosystem that ensures that the largest group of new employees are presented to our market every year,” Gordon said.

The Greater Cleveland Career Consortium is modeled after CMSD’s PACE workforce initiative for Cleveland students in grades 6 through 12. The consortium expands the effort across Northeast Ohio.

Jenny Hamel is the education reporter for Ideastream Public Media and calls the eastside of Cleveland home. Prior to that, she was a reporter for KCRW, the NPR affiliate in Los Angeles, covering a range of issues from immigration to politics.