County Executive Armond Budish’s rallying cry to Cuyahoga County is jobs, jobs, jobs. In his first 100 days in office, CE Budish met with 100 businesses across the county. Almost every one of the business owners and executives said they had open jobs but that they couldn’t find people to fill them. As the key provider of benefits in our community we know that there are thousands of people looking for jobs. How can we, as county government, fill that gap? And how can we make our workforce a competitive advantage for Northeast Ohio?
We are tackling this complex problem through various workforce initiatives, branded as Propel Cuyahoga, designed to achieve 3 key out comes for 3 sets of end users:
- Businesses: We will support business growth and profitability through a workforce pipeline that delivers a sufficient and steady supply of qualified candidates at all skill levels to keep jobs filled;
- Job Seekers: We will help residents with employment barriers become skilled workers pursuing career and wage pathways; and
- Stakeholders: We will build alignment among providers, municipal communities and the public, private and philanthropic funders to invest separate workforce dollars in ways that move forward shared goals and priorities, and to measure success by shared outcomes and impact.
Our multi-faceted approach includes:
- Mapping all of the services across the county and identifying gaps as well as overlapping programs. As a funder, service provider and coordinating force, the county government can address the fragmentation and misalignment that is present in our current workforce system.
- A business-first approach to helping to fill high demand jobs. The Cleveland Foundation’s Future Works report identified five critical occupations. In partnership with the Greater Cleveland Partnership the county is working with local businesses to identify appropriate next steps to address workforce gaps.
- A focus on career pathways for all. Several new initiatives are underway or in development in order to get our residents into good, sustaining jobs.
- The County opened a one-stop shop for residents. Located at Virgil E. Brown, the Workforce Opportunities Resource Center (WORC) offers career counseling, job placement, professional development and access to services under one roof.
- In 2017, the County launched the SkillUp service to make it easier for area businesses to train their workforce.
- Through a partnership with the Cuyahoga County and Cleveland Public Library systems, Cuyahoga County residents can now conveniently access benefits resources and workforce education and development programs at local library branches.
- In collaboration with Cuyahoga Community College, the County launched a Workforce Development Alliance, giving recipients on SNAP (Food Assistance) and TANF (Cash Assistance) scholarships to several training programs.
- Continuing our focus on helping residents increase skills and gain experiential learning, the county is expanding its internship program across three skill levels:
- Career exploration level
- Technician level
- Advanced level