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Northeast Ohioans flock to national work training program

WorkAdvance, a national program that provides low-income and low-skilled individuals with employment training, in conjunction with Towards Employment, a Cuyahoga County-based employment readiness agency, and seven other collaborators, has enrolled 465 local participants in its training program.

Enrollment began in June. The participants are receiving skills training and career services in manufacturing and healthcare. Rebecca Kusner, director of WorkAdvance, says two-thirds of the Cuyahoga County participants are from Cleveland.
The WorkAdvance program is part of a study to show that low-skill and low-income people with barriers to employment can meet companies’ needs if they are offered coordinated skills training and career coaching. “Often, people get GED services, but not technical training,” says Kusner. “WorkAdvance puts together all the services people need to not only get a job, but continue along a career pathway so they don’t end up back on public assistance.”
Northeast Ohio is one of four sites nationwide in the study. The program operates through federal funding from the Social Innovation Fund and under a local investment from the Fund for Our Economic Future.
Manufacturing and health care are two areas most in need of trained workers, Kusner says. “We talked to employers in both fields and asked them where they feel the pain,” she explains, adding that qualified welders were particularly in demand in Northeast Ohio.
Participants receive training at places like Tri-C, Lincoln Electric, and Lakeland Community College. Kusner reports that 30 percent of those participants in jobs after training have already received wage increases.

Source: Rebecca Kusner
Writer: Karin Connelly

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