Celebrating education milestones in Cleveland: The Greater Cleveland Career Consortium and Say Yes Cleveland

Cleveland Metropolitan School District students attend a career camp at Lincoln West High School.

Jaylin Brown entered 11th grade at Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD)’s Ginn Academy on the fence about college. Looking for a different path to follow, he joined MAGNET’s Early College Early Career program, which places high school juniors and seniors like him with local employers to gain exposure to high-tech manufacturing jobs. “I’d never been exposed to manufacturing, but it sounded like a good opportunity,” he said. “I was able to learn the field in general, gain a bunch of different skills and make money while doing it. So it was a win-win-win for a high school student.”

Working a day or two a week during his junior and senior years at Cleveland-based Lincoln Electric—a global leader in welding-related manufacturing—Brown learned the ins and outs of robotic welding and a stack of skills he says will help him no matter where his career takes him.

“This program has opened my eyes to a whole set of possibilities I’d never considered,” Brown said.

March 8, 2023, marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Greater Cleveland Career Consortium (GCCC), an initiative designed to make career-guiding experiences like Brown’s part of every Cuyahoga County student’s educational journey.

The consortium was formed as a result of a three-year planning process, which also produced the PACE (Planning and Career Exploration) framework. PACE, which was rolled out in the Cleveland school district in November 2021, will introduce all 6th-12th grade students to career possibilities and guide them as they develop the confidence, knowledge, skills, and relationships required to achieve their goals.

Autumn Russell, a well-respected professional in the education and workforce fields, was selected as GCCC’s first executive director.

“In its first year, the GCCC has already made an impact in the community. The 2022-23 school year has seen CMSD implementing the PACE framework at scale, and we recently announced our expansion into 10 first-ring school districts beginning in the fall,” she shared. “It is through the efforts of our many partners across sectors that thousands of students are beginning to explore while actively developing their career pathways. We’re looking forward to making sure those opportunities continue to deepen and grow.”

With the addition of the expansion districts, GCCC will soon serve over 33,000 students. The consortium has an ever-expanding list of employer and youth-serving nonprofit partners who are delivering the PACE framework in the classroom and in the field. GCCC is guided by a 24-member leadership council consisting of local education, nonprofit, government, philanthropic and workforce leaders, and implementation is overseen by a seven-member GCCC staff. 

Learn more about the Consortium’s work and how you can support career-focused education here.

In January, Cleveland also celebrated the fourth anniversary of being named a Say Yes to Education community. The announcement on Jan. 18, 2019, brought the promise of holistic support – including tuition scholarships and wraparound services – for students in the district and partner charter schools over the next 25 years.

More than $7 million in Say Yes Cleveland scholarships have been awarded since the program launched. In spring 2022, more than 1,300 CMSD students were enrolled in college or career training with a Say Yes Scholarship. As of spring 2022, nearly 60 Say Yes Cleveland scholars have earned an associate’s degree or career training certificate and 19 have earned a bachelor’s degree. All 104 CMSD and partner charter schools now have access to Say Yes Cleveland support services, which can include afterschool programs, legal assistance, academic tutoring and more. There is a Say Yes Cleveland Family Support Specialist in every Cleveland school building to connect students and families to the free services they need to overcome barriers and stay on track for success.

Learn how you can support Say Yes Cleveland.