The new Career Pathways program aims to help youth in Cincinnati create a path to join City service and build pathways to long-term, well-paying careers. Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

By Helena Battipaglia

City of Cincinnati

Mayor Aftab Pureval, alongside Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, Councilmember Greg Landsman, Councilmember Meeka Owens and community leaders, announced the City’s new year-round youth employment program – Career Pathways.

This workforce development initiative aims to create a clear path for youth in Cincinnati to join City service and build clear pathways that lead to long-term, well-paying careers.

“We are thrilled to continue moving this program forward, expanding on our network of trusted partners to maximize the opportunities for participants to find a great job,” Pureval said. “I’m extremely grateful for the incredible buy-in and support from Cincinnati Public Schools to make this possible, and we cannot wait to further our commitment to this truly unique partnership.”

The City will offer three different pathways for youth employment:

  • Pathway 1: Focuses on youth jobs for students. It starts with enhanced recruitment for summer job programs such as lifeguarding, police and fire cadets and the City’s Y2WK program. Through frequent touchpoints and survey instruments, the goal is to understand the students’ employment goals, assist with emotional or physical barrier removal and gauge job satisfaction with summer employment. At the end of the summer employment pathway, students may be redirected to summer employment opportunities for next year or be connected to full-time employment opportunities.
  • Pathway 2: Centers on careers for youth graduating from high school. Through partnerships with CPS, Dohn Community High School and Ohio Means Jobs, the city has a reliable pipeline of candidates for this pathway. Using surveys and strategic touchpoints, it will understand where potential candidates thrive and provide professional development training through Cincinnati Works and other partnerships. This comprehensive training program will prepare graduates for City job opportunities and prepare them for employment that matches their career goals. Much like Pathway 1, Career Pathways managers will stay in touch with graduates during their employment to ensure job satisfaction and to refer them to our wrap-around service partners if needed.
  • Pathway 3: Designed to engage youth in an entrepreneurial capacity. This pathway was a result of a problem-solving project involving City and community partners which resulted in young men becoming entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial track, through a partnership with CEAI, City consultant Iris Roley’s Brothers in Motion program and Woodward High School, will lead participants through a series of trainings, mentorship and wrap-around services to prepare youth to build a business plan and prosper in their chosen fields.  The City will work with young entrepreneurs to obtain peddlers licenses and operate in safe conditions.

The Career Pathways program has been allocated a $1 million budget for fiscal years 2023, ’24 and ’25. These funds will be used to hire personnel including a dedicated program manager in the City Manager’s Office, secure partnership contracts, pay youth stipends and build out programs in departments citywide.

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