Policy & Advocacy

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.


Dr. LaShon Sawyer
Director of Policy & Advocacy


1. Address root causes of racial disparities throughout the workforce system

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

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

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

3. Create more employment opportunities for individuals with criminal justice experience

Action: 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.

4. Acknowledge and address the social determinants of work

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

Racial Justice

To fully achieve our mission, we envision an equitable workforce system where racial income gaps have been eliminated and everyone, especially those most affected by systemic racism, has access to family-sustaining wages and quality jobs.   Pre-pandemic, we conducted a REI organizational assessment, and are implementing recommendations with a Committee on Racial Equity - diverse representatives from all levels of the organization (including board), which received specialized training from Equuis consulting.

Emerging from pandemic-imposed restrictions, we have confirmed evidence the WorkAdvance model can contribute to closing racial earnings disparity between whites and Blacks/Latinos.  We are building capacity into 2022 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.

Generation Work in Northeast Ohio

In Cuyahoga County, 1 out of every 7 people is an opportunity youth - a young person who isn't connected to work or school.  These young people are more likely to experience health problems, encounter the criminal justice system, lose significant earnings over their lifetime and are disproportionately people of color.  Bringing a racial equity and inclusion lens to employer engagement and training, positive youth development, and youth education, Generation Work is aligning workforce systems and leadership to provide better outcomes for Cuyahoga County's young people.


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.

NEOWC works to create a “table” where local policy makers and funders can engage workforce stakeholders in a more efficient manner, and by which NEOWC members can bring priority issues to their attention.  It offers quarterly sessions to share best practices, foster innovation, promote alignment, and leverage expert input on programmatic, funding and policy issues.

The Leadership Committee includes The Literacy Cooperative, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, United Way, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries, and Youth Opportunities Unlimited.

Contact Dr. LaShon Sawyer to join the mailing list for information on upcoming meetings and events.

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