TE & three area hospital systems partner together with W.K. Kellogg Foundation support

Cleveland, OH; September 3, 2015

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation announces partnership of Towards Employment, University Hospitals, Cleveland Clinic and MetroHealth as part of national pilot study to promote career advancement and increase family economic security.

In ongoing efforts to support community-led solutions that help remove the barriers to economic security faced by lower-income families, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) announced yesterday a total investment of $11.6 million to 14 community-based workforce organizations as part of two new pilot studies to increase workforce mobility and family economic security across the country. The two programs, Supporting Transitions to Employment for Parents (STEPS) and Mobility and Opportunity for Valuable Employment by Upskilling Parents (MOVE UP) are leading on-the-ground efforts to ensure low-income parents have skills and opportunities needed to move onto and up the ladder of economic success.

The only Ohio grantee for the MOVE UP program was Towards Employment, a Cleveland workforce organization.  Towards Employment will partner with University Hospitals, the Cleveland Clinic and MetroHealth to develop health care career pathways for parents that remove critical employment barriers and build employer-desired skills, ensuring parents advance along their career path. Key collaborators include Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, Neighborhood Connections, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Cleveland Housing Network.

“This is both a validation and continuation of the career pathway work that is the Towards Employment model,” says Jill Rizika, executive director of Towards Employment. “And the Kellogg Foundation’s focus on non-profit and employer partnerships is a critical success factor.”  The employer commitment in this partnership is strong. “MetroHealth is dedicated to creating a healthier community, which is why we are honored to be part of the Kellogg Move Up grant,” said Kyle Hodges, Manager of Diversity Recruitment. “Children are our future, and we will do what we can to ensure parents have the career development resources available to provide the best opportunities for their kids.”

“University Hospitals is proud to participate in this important workforce development initiative,” says Kim Shelnick, Vice President, Talent Acquisition, University Hospitals. “We believe that to have a talented, engaged workforce, it is essential to provide career development at all levels of the organization. We have collaborated with Towards Employment on several workforce development programs such as Pathway to PCA, which trains non-clinical employees for patient care roles, and Step Up to UH, which prepares people in neighborhoods around Greater University Circle for jobs in our health system. Together, we have had great success in helping employees advance their careers and we look forward to participating in Move Up.”

“We are grateful to be included in this valuable program that is addressing a true employer need in the region and creating an accessible road to success for those interested in taking part in the new healthcare landscape,” said Vickie Johnson, Senior Director of Community Relations at Cleveland Clinic.   “By supporting our caregivers to advance along their career path we create new opportunities for employment with a focus on filling those positions with residents from our neighboring communities.”

Through community and employer partnerships like this one, WKKF aims to ensure parents have access to every available resource—including job training, career development, and financial coaching–to help them better support their families and save for their children’s future. In Cleveland, this effort also builds career pathways to address talent development needs of three anchor institutions that are economic engines critical to our region’s economic growth.

About Towards Employment: Since 1976, Towards Employment, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering individuals to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through employment, has served more than 122,000 low-income and disadvantaged adults in Greater Cleveland by helping them prepare for jobs, get and keep jobs, and advance into careers. Towards Employment builds individual skills and confidence, removes barriers to employment and helps individuals meet employers’ workforce needs. towardsemployment.org

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.