Empower Cleveland’s Youth
A partnership to nurture and inspire tomorrow’s leaders

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Cleveland is creating a partnership to support urban youth and inspire and nurture them to be tomorrow’s leaders. Civic leaders will unite with youth-serving nonprofits to provide civic education, training and mentorship to promising youth with the goal of empowering them to become community leaders. The program will identify, nurture and inspire Cleveland’s youth to access opportunities, engage civically, and ultimately position them to build a stronger community.

The pilot program
Empower Cleveland’s Youth launched in summer 2016 with high school students from various schools across the City of Cleveland. Participants will complete six full-day sessions that address leadership development, provide an understanding of critical issues facing the community and offer soft skills job training. The youth will gather for lunch with mentors from the business community, and then spend several hours shadowing in jobs corresponding to their career interests. After the program, participants are expected to maintain the mentoring relationship, and may have the option of continuing in paid internships.

Nonprofit organizations taking part in the pilot project include The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Esperanza, Mayor’s Youth Council and the Community Diversion program of the City of Cleveland and the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court System.  

The kick-off event
Empower Cleveland’s Youth was introduced at a special invitation-only luncheon on Monday, July 18, 2016, at the Squire Patton Boggs’ Cleveland headquarters, 4900 Key Tower, 127 Public Square, Cleveland, OH 44114, and was hosted by:

  • Congressman Jim Renacci
  • Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson
  • Dr. Akram Boutros, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, The MetroHealth System
  • Umberto Fedeli, President and CEO, The Fedeli Group
  • Russ Mitchell, Managing Editor and Lead Anchor, WKYC-TV, Cleveland; former Anchor, CBS Evening News and CBS The Early Show
  • Frederick R. Nance, Regional Managing Partner, Squire Patton Boggs LLP

The kick-off event is supported in partnership with SMART (Sheet Metal | Air | Rail | Transportation) and Cuyahoga Community College.

FAQ on Empowerment program
News advisory on kick-off event
News coverage of kick-off event
* Speaker Ryan helps kick off youth empowerment program (WKYC, July 19, 2016)
* Renacci helps kickstart youth mentorship program (Medina County Gazette, July 18, 2016)
* U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, others unveil mentorship program for 20 Cleveland youth (Cleveland.com, July 18, 2016)

Comments about the program
Congressman Jim Renacci
"I grew up with very little − paid my own way through school and was the first in my family to graduate college. Along the way, I was fortunate to have the advice and support of my parents and mentors to help me succeed. I am proud to join with local civic leaders to support the efforts of the Cleveland Leadership Center to develop and nurture our youth to not only see a path to success, but achieve that success. In this great country, all of today’s youth are our country’s future leaders no matter where their life's journey begins.”

Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE, President and CEO of The MetroHealth System
"It's equally critical for young people to be aware of available opportunities and career paths and get hands-on, face-to-face interaction in a business setting. This program connects them with employers across the city who are committed to nurturing and inspiring these young people to continue Cleveland's renaissance.”

Mayor Frank Jackson
"I want to thank Congressman Jim Renacci for his commitment and efforts in developing the ‘Empower Cleveland’s Youth’ program. In partnership with the Cleveland Leadership Center, this program will provide leadership training, civic education, and mentorship to empower our youth to become effective leaders in Cleveland.”

Marianne Crosley, President and CEO of the Cleveland Leadership Center
“We are committed to training and engaging civic leaders who will carry our community forward in the future. We hope to do that with these students by fostering long-term mentor relationships with key business leaders.” 

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