Mar 10

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) focuses its resources to create an environment that will improve educational outcomes in our city, region and state. The Education and Workforce Development program accomplishes that goal through close collaboration with partners in the private and public sectors to ensure Northeast Ohio creates and retains a successful talent pipeline. Working with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and partnering charter schools, GCP supports development of college and career readiness programs to prepare students for in-demand jobs in our region. Below are examples of four successful initiatives championed by the GCP that advance the cause of preparing our students for the 21st century workforce:

Leading Business Involvement in Revitalizing Public Education with the Cleveland Plan

Education remains one of the top strategic priorities for the GCP, which played a significant role in drafting The Cleveland Plan. The key strategies of this Plan, which embody a collective community effort to revitalize public education in Cleveland, include:

  • Growing the number of high-performing district and charter schools in Cleveland and closing and replacing failing schools.
  • Focusing the district’s central office on key support and governance roles while transferring authority and resources to the schools.
  • Investing and phasing in high-leverage system reforms across all schools from preschool to college and career.
  • Creating the Cleveland Transformation Alliance, a public-private partnership, to ensure accountability for all public schools in the city.

But unveiling the Plan was only the beginning. The GCP’s Advocacy Team and many partners worked together to secure passage of state legislation that allowed the Plan’s successful implementation and provided for ongoing sustainability. Consistent with the GCP’s recommendation, the biennial state operating budget contained several education reform provisions and meaningful change has been achieved on several topics. A large portion of our education activities remain focused on the successful implementation and maintenance of the collective community effort to revitalize public education in Cleveland. 

Supporting Dynamic Learning Opportunities: Funding MC2 STEM High School

The GCP and its members continue to support STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education within the CMSD. In 2008, the GCP was asked by CMSD to coordinate the capital fundraising and construction for the new high school now known as MC2STEM High School.  The GCP’s not-for profit affiliate, the Economic Growth Foundation (EGF), raised $4,000,000 from GCP business members and local foundations.  The initial focus was on the construction/renovation of space to accommodate the initial 9th grade class at General Electric’s Nela Park Campus.  GCP provided construction management support which included contracting with Marous Brothers Construction to provide all renovations, including special efforts to ensure that MBE and FBE firms were engaged in the project and a minimum LEED certification. The GE Nela Park renovation (approximate cost $2,600,000) received a Green Building of America Award by the Green Building Council.

In addition to campuses at GE Nela Park and the Great Lakes Science Center, CMSD was able to open its third MC2 STEM campus on the campus of Cleveland State University (CSU).  EGF provided $267,000 for early design work for the new MC2 STEM school.  KeyBank Foundation contributed $1.25 million to renovate space at CSU for the school on two floors of Rhodes Tower. The space includes renovated classrooms and a state-of-the-art fabrication laboratory (or “fab lab”) that uses laser-powered technology. The school now serves about 300 students at campuses embedded in business and school sites around the city.

Transforming Cleveland Schools: GCP Leads Fundraising for Passage of 2012 CMSD Operating Levy and 2016 Renewal

The GCP led the fundraising effort – with GCP raising $1,000,000 – for a successful campaign to pass Issue 107 - the CMSD’s 15 mill operating levy.  The passage of Issue 107 marked the first successful CMSD operating levy campaign in 16 years.  The issue was overwhelmingly approved by voters with over 57% of the vote during the Nov., 2012general election. Issue 107 provided the support necessary to begin successful implementation of the Cleveland Plan.  In addition to campaign fundraising, GCP played a crucial role in advising the campaign team and rallying the business community to support the renewal.  The levy’s renewal represented another step forward in developing a local, skilled workforce for the region’s future.

The levy, which generates $77 million annually, was passed thanks to the efforts of Mayor Frank Jackson, parents, teachers and our business and civic community. Still, it was much more than the passage of a new tax – the levy coincided with changes in state law that would allow for significant changes in CMSD operations. Mayor Jackson’s Cleveland Plan – aiming to grow the number of high-performing district and charter schools and replace failing schools – was designed to function within this new structure with the goal of providing improved education opportunities for Cleveland’s school children. 

GCP again offered its endorsement of the 2016 renewal of the operating levy, raising more than $500,000 in support of the campaign.  Issue 108 renewed financial support needed to continue the successful implementation and maintenance of progress made under the Cleveland Plan – without raising taxes.  Issue 108 passed overwhelmingly with 68% of the vote.

“Maximizing” Max Hayes and Creation of the Academies of Cleveland – Providing New and Innovative Curriculum Opportunities

Career and technical education remain a top priority for of many of our members and a focus for the GCP. We continued to work with and support the CMSD’s Max S. Hayes High School, which prepares high school students to work in 21st century trades and high-tech career options or to continue to college.  In partnership with Manufacturing Works, the GCP provided financial support to further the implementation of the “Take it to the MAX!” plan, which further attuned the Max Hayes curriculum and learning environment to the latest cutting-edge developments in the career and technical education space, leading to a new state-of-the-art Max S. Hayes High School opening in 2015. The Max Hayes innovative approach provides work-based learning and business input into curriculum and technology, and outside support for faculty and students.

The support of Max Hayes led naturally to GCP’s deep involvement in the creation of the Academies of Cleveland.  Based on a Ford Next Generation Learning model, CMSD has created career academies that combine college preparatory academics with career/technical education.  CMSD launched the model in five high schools focusing on career and technical education – Garrett Morgan, Jane Addams, Max Hayes, MLK and Washington Park - with career pathways from a variety of industries that drive economic growth in our community. 

Business community participation in the Academies of Cleveland is crucial to its success.  GCP has engaged the business community in a host of ways including participation in the 9th Grade Career Experience Fair, business roundtables, teacher externships, resume workshops, mock interviews and advisory boards that provide career pathway guidance and hands-on learning for students, such as internships and job shadowing.