Spotlight Encore Cleveland: Discovering Encore Opportunities in the Trades

A man helps a woman at a computer

Launched in 2013 by the Cleveland Foundation, Encore Cleveland helps to connect and fund a network of organizations to provide experienced Greater Clevelanders an array of meaningful opportunities in the community upon retirement or near the end of their primary careers. In this “Spotlight Encore Cleveland” guest blog, you’ll discover a wonderful and enriching program offered by Manufacturing Works; The Technical Corps Program (TCP) is an Encore Cleveland program that was launched in 2015 as a way to use the knowledge and skills of experienced technicians to teach young people the technical and professional skills needed to succeed in skilled trade careers.

The 2018-19 school year yielded many successes for the Technical Corps Program at Max S. Hayes High School and the newly expanded program at Euclid High School. Seven TCP members served over 1,600 hours and worked with more than 230 students in machining, welding, pre-engineering, as well as building and property maintenance. TCP members helped students with a variety of projects in robotics, architecture, electrical and plumbing. Members also assisted students with the certification process in machining (NIMS) and welding (AWS). One TCP member continued to advise teachers and students at Max Hayes on developing a SkillsUSA Chapter to offer students more opportunities to learn and practice personal, workplace and technical skills.

Encore Cleveland TCP Members have been able to bridge the ratio barrier that trade teachers experience, which allows them to bring a higher quality of teaching to the classroom by increasing 1:1 skills training in the labs and expanding their curricula. Members serve in a mentor role when assisting students, so that they can experience a simulation of a real work environment. TCP Members help prepare students with the technical and soft skills that they will need to be successful in the workplace by helping them see the connection between what they learn in the school lab and viable careers in the trades. 

TCP builds on the 27-year partnership between Manufacturing Works and Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and is a continuation of the significant investment already made by CMSD, the Cleveland Foundation, and many other community partners to ensure Max S. Hayes High School and, now, Euclid students are adequately prepared for technical careers. With seven participants in the classroom this past academic year, there was a visible increase in student engagement, learning outcomes and career opportunities. Members helped students earn a total of 92 welding certifications through the American Welding Society (AWS) and four National Institute of Metalworking Standards (NIMS) certifications in conjunction with the launch of the state approved pre-apprenticeship program. 13 students competed in SkillsUSA competitions and 22 graduates were offered permanent employment or apprenticeship opportunities in their career pathways of choice.

We welcomed Dawone Burns to the welding lab and Lescott Alexander to the CADD lab at Max S. Hayes High School for the 2018-19 school year. We saw Dawone’s direct impact with students by helping 20 of them earn 28 certifications.

Lescott assisted with curriculum and architectural projects and stated, “Just being considered to facilitate the program [CADD] with my knowledge and experiences fulfills that gap in my heart and, by extension, satisfies the teacher and students involved.” 

CADD Teacher Arlene Cleveland said, “Lescott has been a tremendous help to me this year. His knowledge of architecture and construction played a vital role in my classes. The students respected him and missed him when he wasn’t present.”

The target population for Technical Corps members is retirees or individuals in transition who have professional experience in a related pathway. Manufacturing Works will work with its network of over 300 member companies and community partners to identify ideal candidates who will be trained and prepared to serve. Each TCP assignment will last for at least one semester, with TCP members having the option of continuing their engagement in a second semester with approval from school staff and leadership. TCP members will provide industry expertise to assist with project-based learning and will have specific roles and responsibilities within those projects. They will provide professional insights to help students identify career pathways that may be a match with their interests and abilities.


In addition to the support of the Cleveland Foundation, Manufacturing Works will rely on the participation of businesses and other community stakeholders to ensure the success of the Technical Corps Program. Various Manufacturing Works members, Precision Metalforming Association, National Tooling and Machining Association, Cleveland Building & Construction trade unions, Friends of Max Hayes Board, Ohio Means Jobs (OMJ), and other Encore grantees have assisted with the recruitment and marketing of the program. Manufacturing Works will continue to seek the support of additional member businesses to ensure a strong pipeline of potential TCP candidates.

Defining Your Next Chapter

Through Encore Cleveland, Manufacturing Works is looking for additional members for the new school year who are retired or in transition to serve a variety of roles, including subject-matter experts and teacher assistants for the 2019-20 school year. To apply, please contact Jessica Westropp at 216.588.1444 or