As we previously discussed in January, Cleveland has become an emerging market for the high tech industry. With this transition to a knowledge economy happening even quicker than expected, labor experts are worried that the region’s many low-skilled workers may get left behind.
In order to ease the potential skills gap, tech-focused economic development agency, NorTech has decided to team up with Esperanza and Saint Martin de Porres high school to help connect inner-city youth with career opportunities in the tech industry. The initiative calls for matching Cleveland high school students with internships at technology and engineering firms in the NorTech network. A few companies included in this plan are Kent Displays, PolyOne, and Quasar Energy Group.
Part of the program will include bringing industry employees to schools to mentor teens that show an interest in developing advanced technical skills.
“There are tremendous opportunities brewing in Northeast Ohio’s innovation economy,” said Johnathan Holifield, NorTech’s vice president for inclusive competiveness. “We don’t have enough innovators. We need more.”
Holifield also acknowledges that the NorTech initiative is just the beginning. “We need others to develop new programs to connect into this movement,” he said.
The two organizations NorTech will be teaming up with include Esperanza, a non profit that runs a tutoring and mentoring program in Cleveland’s Hispanic community, and Saint Martin de Porres, part of the Cristo Rey Network of Catholic high schools that draw largely from underprivileged inner-city families and send graduates to college after they complete a work study experience.
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