Do you have problems attracting and retaining entry level employees? Do transportation issues affect your current employees?
Are you looking for a new source of employees? Is it difficult for your employees to get to work on time? Is their productivity negatively impacted by the fact that their commute has taken over an hour?
Manufacturing Works has a new program that just might be able to help.
Making Workforce a Priority
"After starting my job in February, it didn't take long for me to see that the biggest challenge for our manufacturing members is finding and keeping a strong workforce," said Ken Patsey, Manufacturing Works' President and Executive Director. "We wanted to help by finding access to a significant new source of potential employees and decided that the east side of Cleveland would be a good place to look, given the area's relatively high unemployment rate."
In April, Patsey turned to the organization's Board of Directors for help in finding access to that community. Mark Dawson, a former Board Chair and President of Cleveland Steel Tool Co., arranged a meeting with his longtime friend Judge Ray Headen who works closely with the Cleveland Clergy Coalition. Judge Headen introduced Patsey and his staff to Pastor Aaron Phillips who leads the Coalition and has worked with FirstEnergy for the past three years preparing, supporting, and placing residents from Cleveland's east side neighborhoods in entry level jobs. After that first meeting, a partnership was formed, and the two organizations began searching for ways to work together. The biggest roadblock to the success of the partnership was that over 70% of the neighborhoods' households did not have access to a car and public transportation did not provide adequate service outside of the immediate area.
Timing Is Everything
In late May, The Fund for Our Economic Future, in conjunction with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, The Lozick Family Foundation, and DriveOhio, announced the launch of The Paradox Prize.
The Paradox Prize was looking for big ideas that could connect Northeast Ohioans, who are stranded economically by their geography, with good jobs. The paradox? Transportation.
No Car, No Job; No Job, No Car!
Manufacturing Works and the Cleveland Clergy Coalition, along with the Judge Headen's organization, the American Association of Clergy and Employers, proposed using church vans owned by members of the coalition, which often sit idle during the week, to transport residents from Cleveland neighborhoods to manufacturing hubs in the suburbs.
The examples used in the proposal show that public transportation does not offer a viable solution, with commute times well over an hour, if it's possible at all.
The partners' proposal was awarded $100,000. "We see this award as confirmation that we're on the right track," said Patsey. "We envision expanding this program into other residential neighborhoods and serving more manufacturing hubs throughout the region."
Become Part of the Solution
For more information about how your company can become part of the Paradox Program, contact Brianna Schultz, Vice President of Workforce Development for Manufacturing Works, at 216.920.1967.
In the News
Clearly, this is exciting news! The announcement of the winning proposals has been covered by cleveland.com and Crain's Cleveland Business. Manufacturing Works' project was featured on Channel 5 News.