CLEVELAND — One Northeast Ohio initiative has the goal of giving all children opportunities and preparing them for the workforce.
The Greater Cleveland Career Consortium is expanding its reach and helping more students in the area.
It is a major undertaking, but the team behind the life-changing operation says it’s one done with love and purpose.
GCCC officials say it’s the right time to give back and prep more students for life outside of the classroom.
"We are no longer, you know, looking at it as college or career. We are really focusing on career," said Autumn Russell, Executive Director of the Greater Cleveland Career Consortium.
Officials just announced the consortium invited 10 more Cuyahoga County Schools to its network, including districts like Maple Heights, East Cleveland, Brooklyn and Fairview Park, to name a few.
The consortium started in March of 2022, partnering directly with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and 50 industry employers.
"We are working with students with that self-exploration or awareness — 'What do I like? What don't I like? What am I good at?'" Russell said. "And starting just to get to know themselves, so that when career opportunities or exploration opportunities are presented, they can start to align their interests with opportunities that are across our region."
They implemented the Planning and Career Exploration Framework, or PACE, for students in 6th through 12th grades.
PACE puts kids on more of a career-driven track with events in and out of school, career advising, and a detailed plan of success for each student who graduates high school.
"People are excited about the work. We are changing how we do things right. We are changing the conversation that we are having with young people," said Russell.
This latest expansion effort will now help at least 33,000 students in 11 local districts.
"It allows those students to just have what they need, know what they want to do; it basically gives them a snippet of adulthood in different careers before they go near that point," said Jose Burgos, a CMSD graduate.
Officials say the consortium continues to open doors to opportunities for these students.
Their success so far has been thanks in part to several donors and partners in the private, public and non-profit sectors.
For more information, click here: Greater Cleveland Career Consortium (GCCC)