Policy & Advocacy

Our Policy Action Plan


We promote economic mobility, focusing on those most impacted by systemic racism. We educate and advocate for a more equitable workforce system where racial income gaps have been eliminated and everyone has access to family sustaining wages and quality jobs.

4 Areas


Address root causes of racial disparities throughout the workforce system.

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Promote proactive, data informed strategies to remove barriers impacting access to work and career advancement for Black and Brown workers, highlighting TE alumni voice.


Build more accesible on ramps and improve job quality, particularly at the front line/essential job categories.

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Promote policies and investments in equitable skill building and career advancement opportunities.


Create more employment opportunities for individuals with criminal justice experience.

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Decrease the number of barriers that hinder individuals with previous involvement with the criminal justice system to obtain employment with livable wages and career paths.


Acknowledge and address the social determinants of work.

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Advocate for better integration of more holistic supports into workforce programming to increase engagement, retention, and advancement in the workforce.



We know racial disparity flows through every system - criminal justice, health care, education, housing, and employment. These disparities create barriers to accessing “social determinants of work” – the non-work-related elements that impact a person’s ability to take advantage of job opportunities.

This knowledge strengthens our commitment to provide robust wrap-around supports, longer-term coaching, legal services embedded in workforce programming; and helps us identify new support - expanding support services, committing to employer engagement around inclusive hiring and retention, and investing in leadership training for alumni.

TE’s WorkAdvance model can contribute to closing the racial earning disparity by:

Increasing skills:

career readiness, soft-skill training, credentialed training, paid internships

Increasing Income:

job placement, coaching for retention/advancement

Addressing Social
Determinants of Work:

trauma informed case management to ensure needs are met

We are building capacity to:

1. Widen

the entry point to those who need a longer time to prepare to enter training.

2. Build

in best practice from remote learning to maximize engagement and #s served.

3. Extend

career coaching to support continuous learning/social capital building of Towards Employment graduates.

4. Advocate

for local and national policies to bring systems change.

Generation Work

Towards Employment is a Generation Work partner helping connect and train young adults for great careers.

Generation Work is a partnership launched by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to help young Americans succeed in the job market. This partnership is designed for ages 18-24 who are enrolled in federal workforce programs and eligible for public benefits.


Northeast Ohio Workforce Coalition

Northeast Ohio Workforce Coalition (NEOWC) is an affiliate of the Ohio Workforce Coalition and shares the vision of a future where Ohioan’s have equitable access to opportunity and the supports they need to take advantage of it; Ohio’s businesses have a skilled workforce advancing in quality jobs; and Ohio’s workforce systems are aligned, transparent, and accountable.


Aspen Institute Northeast Ohio Workforce Coalition

The Ohio Workforce Coalition, with NEOWC as local partner, was selected in a nationally competitive process to facilitate the Aspen Institute Workforce Leadership Academy (WLA) in Cleveland.  The Workforce Leadership Academy, with curriculum designed by the Economic Opportunities Program of the Aspen Institute, brings together leaders from across a local workforce ecosystem for a year-long series of retreats, workshops, and action learning projects. The Academy provides a forum for local leaders to work collaboratively to identify local and regional systems-based challenges and create shared solutions for economic opportunity for all. Fellows work with leading practitioners throughout the country as they deepen networks; strengthen systems leadership skills; apply race, equity, and systems change frameworks to their work; and increase understanding of effective strategies and programs.

Your Vote


Celebrate American democracy by making sure you, your friends, family, & community are Vote Ready for the next trip to the ballot box!

Policy Feed

Follow our X (formally known as Twitter) for more of Toward Employment's policy & advocacy.

TE career coach Jaymone came across TE Pathways to Success alumni DeShon Pennyman and Mardell Duff on the job!
Jaymone says, "They wanted me to tell EVERYONE at TE how much they appreciate the chance [we] gave them" So happy to see DeShon and Mardell building up Cleveland!


@metrohealthCLE has a health-bus set up at the @CleFoodBank (15500 S Waterloo Rd, Cleveland) NOW until 4:00pm.

All women are welcome to get a free mammogram!

#free #healthcare #cleveland

TE's CEO and President, Jill Rizika, was highlighted in a news segment by @WEWS (News 5 Cleveland) on being awarded $2M from #YieldGiving #OpenCall. Watch the full clip and read the article at

Billionaire and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott last week awarded Towards Employment $2 million and awarded gifts to Birthing Beautiful Communities, LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, and Fairfax Renaissance Development. @TowardsEmploy

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For toolkits and other resources, visit our resource page.