Step Up to UH

In 2013, Towards Employment (TE) and University Hospitals (UH) formalized a partnership for the program Step Up to UH. The program assists University Circle residents to qualify for entry level positions at University Hospitals made available by current UH employees moving into Patient Care Assistant positions.

Initially funded through The Cleveland Foundation, Step Up to University Hospitals is in year six of serving as a neighborhood pipeline into entry level jobs at University Hospitals.

Towards Employment also partners with Neighborhood Connections to help recruit neighborhood residents interested in careers in University Hospitals.

Towards Employment then screens and trains those selected using a customized job readiness curriculum, followed by 6 months of job coaching to help with transition to new job.

Step Up has lowered the interview to hire ratio and graduates’ retention at one year is better than the departmental average.

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Step Up to UH new hires by University Hospitals in six years

1 year retention 80% - Approximately 14 percentage points higher than department average


Within 2 years of coming to TE, Loretta started a new job, advanced to a better job and has a long term goal to become a nurse. Loretta, a single mother of three with 9 grandchildren, worked as a State Tested Nursing Assistant for 15 years before taking a position as an office manager for a construction company. After five years, the company downsized and she faced the challenge of finding a job while raising her grandson on her own.

She attended Step Up to UH and was hired at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center as an Environmental Service Worker. In less than a year, Loretta met her goal of returning to direct patient care with an advancement to Patient Care Nursing Assistant after participating in training facilitated by Towards Employment. Loretta now trains new Patient Care Nursing Assistants on her floor and her manager says, “Loretta exceeds expectations - mentioned by both staff and patients as providing exceptional care.” Loretta already has another goal: “I plan to begin the Nursing program at Tri-C this fall semester.”