One program at Towards Employment, the one Joe participated in, focuses on people from prison pre-release to post-release, helping individuals receive specialized training and academic remediation that helps them enter careers in fields like manufacturing, construction and culinary arts. Some have gone on to obtain credentialed training in technical skills like computer-assisted machining and specialty welding. Others have become chefs, line cooks or food preparation workers who found jobs in Cleveland’s thriving restaurant scene.
In another program called WorkAdvance, Towards Employment helps individuals living at or below poverty levels obtain careers in the manufacturing and health care fields.
Yet another program, Step up to UH, provides a more streamlined process for entry-level residents of University Circle to find employment at University Hospital, including pre-screening that helps ready individuals for interviews and provides at least 6 months of on the job coaching to ensure strong retention and positioning for advancement. Like much of the work Towards Employment does, this is a strong partnership with an employer and other community organizations. In this case, University Hospitals, Neighborhood Connections and Towards Employment work together in a true neighborhood workforce strategy. The program, which utilizes customized employer driven training and job coaching to help ensure positive outcomes, has experienced great success, producing a higher rate of retention than the departmental average for University Hospitals hires.