The Cleveland Foundation board of directors announced $13.1 million in grants for the third quarter of 2014. More than $1.4 million will support the foundation's new career and technical education strategy that aims to connect Cleveland students with real-world work experiences to better prepare them for tomorrow's labor force.
Earlier this month, the foundation announced results of a study commissioned from national workplace research firm FutureWorks, which identified a large number of livable-wage jobs available locally in high-growth sectors and a shortage of appropriately credentialed workers to fill them.
"While results of the study are sobering in terms of the gap that currently exists, it also shows great opportunity with the number of available family-sustaining careers in the area," said Ronn Richard, President and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. "The Cleveland Foundation will work with other community partners to build a framework and proof points for a new and revitalized professional and career pathway system in Cleveland, tailored to our city's needs and strengths, so that all Clevelanders have the chance to thrive."
Among the grants approved:
- $450,000 to Great Lakes Science Center for the launch of an initiative called Cleveland Creates, which seeks to rebuild a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the community. The science center plans to engage all seventh-graders in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) in a unique engineering and design "thinking" curriculum to spark their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and, potentially, in a manufacturing technology-based career path. The initiative will also invite the Greater Cleveland community to participate in STEM activities through a mobile FabLab and in a new space at the center, where the public will be encouraged to design engineering solutions to everyday problems.
- $140,000 to the Henry Ford Learning Institute to help fund a formal assessment of the current CMSD career technical education system. The assessment will identify opportunities to transform five CMSD schools currently designated as career technical sites – Jane Addams, Garrett Morgan, MLK Campus, Max Hayes and Washington Park – into career-themed academies aligned with available employment opportunities in Cleveland. Local high-growth sector employers and higher education representatives will be engaged to help design, implement and sustain this new career academy system.
- $400,000 to MAGNET and $325,000 to WIRE-Net to help launch a program from the two organizations – the Urban Growth Agenda – that will promote the growth of 25 promising local small- to medium-sized manufacturing companies and, thus, retain or create jobs focused in the urban core of Cleveland. The program will seek to create an apprenticeship consortium, starting with six employers who will work together to create apprenticeship slots. The program also will work with Max Hayes High School to develop three pre-apprenticeship pathways that clearly direct into apprenticeship pathways.
The Cleveland Foundation board of directors approved $558,700 to continue its support of the Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools. The funding will be used for implementation of the new school-based budgeting system, continued support of CMSD's 14 innovative schools, and the planning and design of at least three new schools in the district.
A $225,000 grant to Cleveland Metropolitan School District will help implement a new, comprehensive arts education program. As a result of a foundation-supported study of CMSD arts education, the district has created two staff positions focused on arts education. In addition, the new program will support better alignment with Cleveland's renowned cultural institutions to ensure that all students enjoy high-quality arts experiences.
Two grants will support services for youth and young adults with disabilities:
- $100,000 to Achievement Centers for Children to help fund the rebuilding of Camp Cheerful's arts and crafts building – the camp's oldest structure. Located in the Cleveland Metroparks Mill Stream Run reservation in Strongsville, Camp Cheerful was the first residential camp in Ohio designed specifically for children with disabilities.
- $80,000 to Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County to support the Cuyahoga Employment Partnership, a recently formed community collaborative. The partnership, which includes 29 school districts, career centers, the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the Cuyahoga County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services, is aimed at helping Cuyahoga County youth with disabilities acquire and sustain employment within two months of high school graduation.