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Cuyahoga County Internship Program Puts Young People on a Career Path

by Tina Coleman, Workforce Communication Program Officer, Cuyahoga County Job and Family Services and Miranda Pomiecko, Communications Specialist, Cuyahoga County Department of Communications

man shows welding peice to two welding studentsFor more than a decade, Cuyahoga County and Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) have partnered to provide the Summer Youth Employment Program and give young people summer jobs. While those jobs succeeded in giving young people summer employment with a pay check, they typically did not put those youth on a career path. That has changed.

In 2017, the County transformed its summer jobs program into a paid internship program with the goal of providing teens and young adults with jobs, training, and education that serve as a pipeline to career opportunities.

“We have ramped up on internship programs to help put young adults on a path to a career. I am proud to be a part of this program that is helping and will continue to help our region’s youth escape poverty by making progress on a career pathway to sustainable employment,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish.

The Cuyahoga County Internship Program is designed for low-income young adults, ages 18-24, who are not in school or working. The program is a consortium consisting of local providers, including Y.O.U, Cuyahoga Community College, El Barrio Workforce Development at The Centers for Families and Children, Ohio Guidestone, Towards Employment, and other organizations and training providers that work collaboratively with the Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services, Job and Family Services, Workforce Development, and OhioMeansJobs| Cleveland-Cuyahoga County.

Cuyahoga County Health and Human Services levy funds are used to leverage federal TANF funding that makes this program possible.

man shows welding piece to two welding studentsSince January of 2018, 306 young adults have enrolled in the internship program, 591 have completed job readiness training, 220 completed credential training, and 151 who started a consortium program have been hired in 2018. One-hundred and fifty-one who completed a certificate program in 2018 have earned a job, and 161 additional young adults who started a certificate program have earned a job in 2018.

Anthony C. joined the Advanced Technology Academy (ATA) at Cuyahoga Community College in January of 2018. After overcoming some significant hurdles, Anthony started the industrial welding program and quickly rose to the top of his class. Anthony soon mastered the art of welding and began to help other students; it didn’t take long for him to be recognized as the “go-to” guy. To no surprise, Anthony was the ATA committee’s choice for the Welding Instructor Apprenticeship Program, allowing him to become skilled at various welding disciplines, understand curriculum taught and eventually become an instructor for Cuyahoga Community College.

Anthony was hired by the college, earning a premium wage, and spent the spring semester working side-by-side with an instructor. Over the summer, Anthony was placed with Great Lakes Towing, where he spent three months gaining critical industry experience allowing him to further develop and prepare future student welders for the workforce. Anthony is expected to complete the program by 2020 and move into a full-time instructor position.

For more information, including how to apply, visit the Cuyahoga County Internship Program.

View Anthony C’s personal story during his graduation.