WorkAdvance leads underserved workers down the path to sustainable careers

by | May 16, 2022

A job applicant finding work is something to celebrate, but it’s only a first step on a longer road, notes Jill Rizika, executive director of Towards Employment. The larger goal — one enthusiastically supported by the Cleveland-based job training and placement agency — is helping workers build a family-sustaining livelihood.

In 2011, the organization joined a national pilot that tested the WorkAdvance career pathway program across four communities. Locally coordinated by Towards Employment with support from the Fund for Our Economic Future, the pilot evaluated about 700 would-be workers in Cuyahoga County. Most program participants came from minority and underrepresented neighborhoods.

The WorkAdvance model centers on industry-specific recruitment, work experience and career planning. The program also includes post-employment advancement coaching and in-house legal services to address economic mobility barriers.

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