CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Metropolitan School District launched a program that is working to create pathways to prosperity for high school students while helping companies with staffing shortages.
On Monday, CMSD rolled out a new community-wide initiative called PACE, which stands for Planning And Career Exploration.
"Next to Say Yes Cleveland, this is the biggest thing we've done in education in Cleveland," said Ann Bingham, PACE co-creator.
Adam Snyder is one of the many community partners coming together to help link Cleveland teens with living-wage jobs.
"It makes me so excited for the CMSD students right now," said Snyder.
Snyder, with the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, was on hand for the rollout of the district's PACE program.
He spoke directly to students in the crowd at the Garrett Morgan School of Science.
"We want to bring you into the opportunities that these 1,700 manufacturers represent," said Snyder.
PACE will be embedded into the school day as a regular part of classes.
"Students will be offered eye-opening opportunities that will be facilitated not only by their teachers but also by employers and non-profit partners as well," said district superintendent Eric Gordon.
This collaboration goes well beyond just helping teens pick a profession.
"What is it about you, your strengths, your passions that makes that career interesting to you?" said Michelle Scott Taylor, College Now.
Once interest is peaked, PACE will directly connect students with prospective employers.
According to the Greater Cleveland Partnership, there are thousands of high-skilled, good jobs available right now and CMSD students are needed to fill them.
"Together what we will do is we will create an abundant talent pipeline for the future that helps fuels businesses, but also helps you live your dreams," said Craig Platt, IT Sector Partnership.
Amari Thompson, a senior at John Marshall School of Information Technology, is thankful for the extra support and guidance as she sorts through what’s next.
"PACE is going to help fill a big gap that I see amongst my peers. PACE will help me to uncover more options within the field of study I am choosing, and it will do the same for my friends," said Thompson.
Adam Synder calls this a game-changer for inspiring the next generation of healthcare and IT professionals, as well as manufacturers in Northeast Ohio.
"That's when people fall in love with manufacturing is when you go in a plant and see the equipment and the robots and the people interacting and the teams working to create something," he said.