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Broad coalition promotes diversity in construction industry workforce

The Commission on Economic Inclusion’s Construction Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) initiative has brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to increase the use of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and Female Business Enterprises (FBEs) firms on major construction projects.

A new CDI video explores how this community endeavor got its start, what progress has been made and the impact it has had in Cleveland.

Click here 
or on the image to watch.

Meanwhile, the CDI has been working to ensure that there’s a strong pipeline of female, minority and local qualified workers through pre-apprenticeship training for various job opportunities identified via the Commission’s Demand Study for Construction Employees. 

CDI connects high-demand jobs in the construction sector with training programs designed to meet those demands. Over the last 2 1/2 years, it has launched seven adult pre-apprenticeship training (PAT) cohorts. 

During this time, 88 students have enrolled in PAT, with 69, or 78 percent of enrollees completing the two to three-month course. Of the students who completed the course, 62 percent have been placed in construction jobs, while 25 percent chose another career path. 

CDI is currently working with Cuyahoga Community College, which recently obtained Department of Education approval to offer eligible students Pell grants to cover the tuition and fees associated with the PAT and community referral agencies to review procedures for completing the FAFSA, as well as financial aid applications, as part of the PAT process.

GCP disappointed by outcome of Cleveland teachers’ vote

The Greater Cleveland Partnership is both surprised and disappointed by the Cleveland teachers’ vote last week to reject the three-year contract that would continue support of The Cleveland Plan to reform education in the city.

“This outcome is unfortunate after four years of all parties knowing that this issue is critical to efforts to ensure that every child in Cleveland can attend a quality school,” said GCP President and CEO Joe Roman.

“We remain focused on how to provide quality outcomes to Cleveland’s children because they are, most importantly, the key to our momentum and future.

“The GCP is evaluating the best way we can influence this issue in a constructive way over the next few days and weeks.”

GCP Board member appointed to medical marijuana advisory committee

Governor John Kasich has appointed Michael Stanek, vice president/CFO of Hunt Imaging in Berea and owner of Cleveland Cycle Tours, to a new panel that is being formed—the Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee. Stanek also serves as a GCP Board member and as COSE Board chair.

The assignment is to represent employers’ views as regulatory proceedings on medical marijuana take place in Ohio.

Several months ago, Ohio elected officials pre-empted a campaign to place the legalization of medicinal marijuana on the ballot by approving legislation. The legalization effort that was working to put their separate initiative – which was broader in scope – on the ballot discontinued operations.

The state legislation that passed technically made medical marijuana legal in Ohio on September 8, 2016. However, the regulatory process that will set many of the rules still needs to be completed within two years, and the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee may develop and submit recommendations to agencies related to the Medical Marijuana Control Program.

“I’m appreciative of the Governor’s trust in making this appointment,” said Stanek. “Given the magnitude of the potential implications for business owners, their employees, and all Ohioans, I’m honored to serve employers in this role. I understand the importance and do not take this duty lightly.”

GCP/COSE did not take a formal position on the medical marijuana legislation that is now Ohio law. Our members instead sought to enhance employer rights and GCP/COSE worked to secure protections included in the legislation. Under those protections, Ohio employers can still establish and enforce drug testing, drug-free workplace, and zero-tolerance drug policies.

In addition to this sole employer role, Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee membership will include members who represent pharmacists, physicians, local law enforcement. labor, mental health treatment, nurses, caregivers, patients, agriculture, alcohol and drug addiction treatment, and academic research.

How should your business prepare for medical marijuana in Ohio? Read more here.

Port, U.S. Senators partner to prevent open lake dumping

The Port of Cleveland and a coalition of partners are continuing the effort to stop the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) from cutting funds for maintaining Cleveland Harbor and dumping of potentially harmful Cuyahoga river sediment in Lake Erie. In Washington, U.S.

Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman have sponsored language in the current Senate-approved Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The bill would preempt USACE from determining what material is suitable for placement in Lake Erie without State of Ohio approval, adding local input and balance to the situation.

“The Cleveland Harbor project is vital to all of Ohio not only ecologically, but economically as well,” Portman said. “This provision ensures dredged material will not harm either the city of Cleveland’s water supply or Lake Erie’s ecosystem.

“I will use every tool available to make sure our Great Lake is protected and urge my colleagues in the House to move quickly to get this to the president for signature.”

“Dredging of the Cuyahoga River is key to the Port of Cleveland’s continued support for local businesses and jobs, and we must ensure that all dredging activity protects Lake Erie,” Brown said.

“This provision will make it clear that the Corp must follow state water quality standards. This will help the Port of Cleveland and Ohio EPA keep toxic sediment out of the lake, and I urge the House to move quickly.”

As the Senate legislation works its way through a US House committee, the Port and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) are also pursuing a federal lawsuit against the USACE. The suit seeks to ensure that the Corps continues to dredge the Cuyahoga River and dispose of the sediment produced without dumping it in Lake Erie.

The USACE has refused to dredge the Cuyahoga at all in 2016. While the mild winter and dry summer months of June and July have allowed for a delay in dredging this year, a rainier August and September, once again, have made the issue of dredging urgent.

The dredging issue also threatens the local economy. A recent Port-sponsored study by Martin Associates found that the Port and Cleveland’s maritime industry now produce over $3.5 billion of annual economic value and support more than 20,000 jobs in Northeast Ohio.

That economic activity is at risk due to the failure to dredge the Cuyahoga River.

To learn about supporting the Port’s efforts, please contact Jade Davis, Port vice president of external affairs, at