What does Towards Employment do?
Towards Employment helps people overcome poverty, justice system involvement and other challenges in their lives to gain the skills and experience needed to connect to a family sustaining career. Our evidence based, employer-driven training and holistic support, coaching and mentorship combine to lift people out of poverty and towards self-sufficiency.
What are the challenges we address?
It's 2021 and the MIT Living Wage Calculator figures a living wage for a household comprised of one adult and one child in Cuyahoga County is 237% higher than minimum wage. In 2021 the minimum wage in the state of Ohio is $8.80 per hour.
What makes our solutions special?
Towards Employment uses a nationally-recognized model called WorkAdvance, which has proven through research to be effective in increasing earnings of low-income Clevelanders, including individuals with criminal justice involvement, young adults aging out of foster care and veterans with barriers to employment. With this model, not only does Towards Employment focus on placing and sustaining people in good-paying jobs, it provides holistic wrap-around services to help address the “social determinants of work” such as housing insecurity, transportation and legal issues. It also builds life skills like financial literacy. Addressing these issues enhances prospects for job retention and advancement.
What are our future goals?
Towards Employment is seeking $3.7 million in private support through the Chance to Advance campaign to extend WorkAdvance programming to every person who comes to us for assistance.
We are reaching out to people who have supported Towards Employment to share the success of the WorkAdvance model, which will help 3,500 low-income Clevelanders over the next three years.
We project the return on investment to be that graduates will earn more than $21 million in above-minimum average wages over the next 3 years.
Bottom line? Employers have better prepared workers. Workers have more economic mobility. End result, the whole community is stronger.
How would my support help?
Independence & Mobility
Goal: $2.2 Million
To bolster training, certification, and coaching pathways.
Pre-training preparation and resolution of barriers: funding to provide services and “soft-skills” training before being placed in training programs.
Career pathways skills training: upskilling and certification for high-demand fields (health care, CDL, manufacturing, IT or
Continued coaching: unique to the WorkAdvance model is 12 months of coaching post placement to achieve career
advancement and family-sustaining wages.
Infrastructure & The Future of Work
To enhance our mobile and virtual infrastructure.
Addressing the digital divide: access to Chromebooks, hot spots and technology training.
Curriculum development: creating curriculum for Google classrooms and industry specific remote trainings.
Upgrading TE technology: cyber security, digitally-enhanced classrooms, and an upgraded database to better serve candidates and graduates.
Innovation & Capacity
Goal: $1 Million
To allow us to invest in new approaches and build partnerships.
Agility in responding to partners or grant opportunities: funding to pilot new programs is critical in an ever-changing market.
Social enterprise and earned revenues: developing additional revenue streams impacts our sustainability.
Director of Workforce Innovation: dedicated member to monetize innovations and develop responsive strategic plans.
A Chance to Advance: Case Study
Your Chance to make a Difference
Committees & Honorees
The following individuals are committed to advancing the local workforces through expertise or financial commitment. Together, we are moving towards a more equitable future.
Melanie Webber, co-chair
Kathy Tatman, co-chair