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Lincoln-West School of Science and Health

After a 2014 conversation with a Black student who was touring MetroHealth, its president and CEO Dr. Akram Boutros was inspired to address the lack of exposure to health system career paths for many students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Not only did the student have low expectations for his future career, but he also wasn’t sure where to start when it came to finding that path.

As a result, the Lincoln-West School of Science and Health was founded in collaboration between MetroHealth and CMSD, with the mission of serving high school students interested in health care careers and addressing the lack of diversity in the field.

Students of Lincoln-West get unique firsthand exposure to health care and other careers within the MetroHealth System while forming relationships with a variety of professionals. The school graduated its first class of 20 students in 2019, with 100% accepted into college. There now are 264 students at the school, more than two-thirds of which identify as Black, Hispanic or multiracial, and 35% who consider English their second language. The school also focuses on teaching this population English, so they are better able to navigate the workforce.

“We are serving as an example for other health systems that have gone and made significant partnerships like ours,” Boutros said. “They have taken on the responsibilities to provide pathways to these kids with a renewed focus on equity and inclusion.”


Attitude, attendance, appearance, ambition, accountability, acceptance and appreciation can make all the difference as it relates to workplace success. These concepts are also central to the “Bring Your A Game to Work” program that local nonprofit NewBridge launched as a complement to its workforce development efforts.

NewBridge is a community-based, arts-infused workforce training center and after-school education program dedicated to teaching students from Cleveland’s most challenged neighborhoods, specifically focusing on health care careers. The nonprofit’s overall mission is to address the systemic root causes of many participants’ inabilities to meet their goals. It uses a trauma-informed, social-emotional learning lens to consider the internal motivations affecting one’s actions.

“Every one of our students has had their lives negatively impacted by, at minimum, community-based trauma,” said Bethany Friedlander, president and CEO of NewBridge. “Bringing this lens to the work environment is allowing participants to work on two tracks simultaneously, emotional resiliency and technical skills training.”

Since the launch of the “Bring Your A Game to Work” program, NewBridge has seen a 14% increase in job trainee retention rates, which is especially significant as it occurred during a pandemic. Pre- and post-testing also revealed a 54% increase in emotional awareness, and a 42% increase in emotional management among participants.

Generation Work

The goal of Generation Work is simple: Position young people to enter the local labor market and succeed.

Launched locally in 2016 with funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the initiative aims to promote economic mobility for young adults ages 18 to 24, particularly those of color, who are enrolled in federal workforce development programs and eligible to receive public benefits. By encouraging collaboration, communication and the alignment of systems among funders and providers, Generation Work seeks to build capacity, improve equitable services and remove barriers to workforce entry.

Local partners include Towards Employment; Cuyahoga County; The Centers for Families and Children; Ohio Means Jobs; The Fund for Our Economic Future; Youth Opportunities Unlimited; OhioGuidestone; and the Advanced Technology Academy at Cuyahoga Community College.
“We want to be able to provide support and make sure they are connected to resources,” said Carole Beaty, chief of programs at The Centers. “Yes, the important piece is career pathways, but we know that if there’s a barrier because of homelessness or being a single parent, if we don’t address those circumstances, it won’t be successful.”

Since its inception, the effort has impacted local programs serving more than 1,000 young adults, with more than 800 entering the workforce or going on to further training. Additionally, its programs have touched the businesses community, with 580 employers engaging, 557 hiring, 122 helping with programming and 20 changing practices.

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