Event connects potential employers with students

Reaching Heights Board Member Adaora Schmiedl with Ida Ford, manager of talent acquisitions for the Greater Cleveland RTA, at the  Business Connection event on Feb. 1 at the Heights High AutoTech facility.

Do you need to hire employees for summer 2024? Would it help if those new employees arrived with some preparation and compensation? The Heights CTE Consortium and Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) are ready to help connect businesses with talented young people who need work experience.

On Feb. 1, 40 people gathered at the Deborah Delisle Options Center to attend Heights High’s Business Connection event. A collaboration of Reaching Heights, FutureHeights, the Heights CTE Consortium, and Y.O.U., the event brought business owners, managers and community leaders together to learn about high school career and technical education (CTE) programs and youth career-development programs.

Carmen Daniel, Heights CTE Consortium’s business and community engagement specialist, highlighted the wide variety of programs offered to high school juniors and seniors in the five-district consortium comprising Cleveland Heights-University Heights, Shaker Heights, Warrensville Heights, Maple Heights, and Bedford. Daniel explained how the programs prepare students for entry-level positions by imparting the technical skills and soft skills of a valued employee.

Eric Dillenbeck, Y.O.U.’s director of work experience programs, described the Y.O.U Summer Youth Employment program, which helps prepare, place, support, and compensate students, ages 14–19, who live in Cuyahoga County. This summer, approximately 1,800 students will be paid $13.50 per hour for six weeks of part-time (20–25 hours per week) work experience. The deadline for students to apply is May 1.

After each presentation, attendees had the opportunity to meet and talk with one another. Bryan Barrett, owner of Bryan’s Marathon, was impressed with the evaluation system for student employees that included soft skills such as arriving on time, dressing appropriately, and expressing a ready-to-work attitude. Another attendee mentioned the value of students receiving exposure to a variety of work environments to learn which fields were or were not of interest. 

Sally Kramer, a Reaching Heights board member and parent of two Heights graduates, was happy to hear that every CTE program has college credit associated with it. “Most people know about college credit from Advanced Placement (AP) and College Credit Plus (CCP),” said Kramer. “This event was a great reminder that students also can earn CTE college credit.”

Y.O.U and the Heights CTE Consortium hope to employ 150 rising Heights High juniors and seniors this summer, providing work experience at various sites in and near Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

Interested employers are asked to complete an interest form by April 1. To learn more about the Y.O.U. Summer Youth Employment program, visit www.youcle.org/syep. To register as a work site, contact Carmen Daniel at c_daniel@chuh.org.

Krista Hawthorne

Krista Hawthorne is the executive director of Reaching Heights.

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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 2:55 PM, 02.28.2024