Neighborhood Career Hotline aims to connect people in underserved communities to job opportunities

Neighborhood Career Hotline aims to connect people in underserved communities to job opportunities
Posted at 4:44 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 18:08:11-04

CLEVELAND — After a year of tough economic losses and high unemployment, many are looking forward to a recovery of the business sector in post-pandemic life.

Several organizations in Northeast Ohio are teaming up to help people in some of Cleveland's most underserved communities rebound with a new hotline geared towards career training and job placement.

Now, finding a new career can be just as easy as picking up the phone -- or at least that’s what the creators of the new Neighborhood Career Hotline are hoping for.

“It's really immediate, so as soon as they call in, they can get connected with our services,” Ronnie Cannon, the community engagement manager at Towards Employment, said.

The hotline just launched Wednesday. It's a free service that pairs job seekers with career coaches who help them with all aspects of the job search.

“Resume building, interviewing, practice, computer literacy, things of that nature,” Cannon said.

That process can be daunting for many.

“We know that we have a lot of job training programs, but they can be difficult to access and it can be difficult to navigate the kind of workforce development system,” Adam Allen, the Americorps Vista at MidTown Cleveland, said.

Allen said that’s why MidTown Cleveland worked with other community development organizations to create the hotline, including Towards Employment, Metro West Community Development Organization, and Burten, Bell, Carr Development. The Fund for Our Economic Future is funding the service.

It's free and open for any ages 18 and up, but it's specifically geared towards residents in the neighborhoods those organizations serve -- including Central, Kinsman, Buckeye-Shaker, and Clark-Fulton -- and seeks to address inequities in the workforce with a focus on Black and Latinx workers.

“When you’re looking at it in front of the lens of the Black and brown community, we often understand that there is a disparity when it comes to hiring practices and even the wages that individuals receive,” Cannon said.

When people call the hotline, they’ll be assigned to a Towards Employment career coach who will guide them through career readiness steps in key fields like IT, manufacturing, and healthcare and introduce them to programs that can help them build their skill-sets.

“If you're really interested in computers and want to take that to the next step, the state of Ohio will pay for your tuition at some of these coding boot camps,” Allen said. “If you're interested in working on power lines or something like that, there's great careers there.”

That coach sticks with them through the entire process until they’ve finally landed a job.

Organizers hope this new resource helps these communities break barriers and bounce back from the struggles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is just one vehicle that we're promoting to help our residents in the Greater Cleveland area to do just that, to get back onto the road of economic mobility,” Cannon said.

The Neighborhood Career Hotline is now up and running. Anyone interested can call 216-399-3550 or visit its website.

The hotline is open for English speakers Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Spanish speakers can call Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon. If callers don’t reach a live operator, they can leave a message and someone will get back to them.

Organizers are also hosting a virtual event for more information Thursday at 6 p.m. More information can be found here.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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