Tri-C takes career training to the neighborhoods

(Cleveland) - Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) and community partners today announced the launch of Tri-C Access Centers to bring education and job-training opportunities to neighborhoods gripped by poverty.

The College is collaborating with Esperanza Inc. and Olivet Housing and Community Development Corp. (OHCDC), an arm of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, on the first two centers. Each organization will host a Tri-C Access Center.

Esperanza is providing space at its offices at 3104 W. 25th St. in Cleveland. The center hosted by OHCDC will open at the University Hospitals Otis Moss Jr. Health Center, 8819 Quincy Ave., on the city’s east side.

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority is partnering with OHCDC on the Quincy Avenue center given the number of CMHA residents living near the site.

Bringing the community college experience and resources to these sites removes barriers to higher education,” Tri-C President Alex Johnson said. “Tri-C is meeting residents where they are to help them pursue degrees, workforce credentials and the opportunity for a better life.”

Statistics show the economic struggles within neighborhoods surrounding the locations, with a high percentage of residents unemployed or living in households with incomes below the federal poverty level.

Connecting people to education and job training opens the door to opportunity. Proposed services at Tri-C Access Centers include college and career readiness workshops; English as a Second Language courses; and the College’s Women in Transition program.

Workforce offerings may include advanced manufacturing and information technology training programs to guide residents into careers with sustainable wages and growth potential.

“Tri-C Access Centers affirm the College’s commitment to promoting individual development and achievement in every household,” Johnson said. “These centers promise to serve those who are often under-resourced and underrepresented in higher education.”

The idea for Tri-C Access Centers grew from conversations between Johnson and leaders with Esperanza, OHCDC and CMHA. The centers reflect the College’s commitment to partnerships and the values and mission of each organization.

“For over three decades, Esperanza and Tri-C have partnered to bring educational opportunities to our community,” said Victor Ruiz, executive director of Esperanza. “With the Tri-C Access Center, we are putting a quality education within reach for all members of our community.”

The Rev. Jawanza Karriem Colvin of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church called the establishment of Tri-C Access Centers significant to the community.

“This partnership brings together entities that are each committed to connecting people to opportunity,” Colvin said. “In coming together to educate and train a wide and diverse student population, we are seeking to set a model for effective neighborhood- and community-based access to the established and emerging workforce industries in our region.”

A signing ceremony to establish the first two Tri-C Access Centers took place this morning at Tri-C’s Jerry Sue Thornton Center in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson were among the community leaders attending.

Some programs are already being offered at the Centers. Others will evolve over time based on community needs. Many of the services will be at no cost to participants.

The need to eliminate economic disparities in Northeast Ohio has been well documented in studies such as The Tale of Two Tomorrows report by the Fund for Our Economic Future. These inequities undermine the region’s ability to prosper.

“CMHA is pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with Tri-C on such a worthwhile initiative,” said CEO Jeffery K. Patterson. “The Access Centers will create new opportunities for our residents to gain access to vital skills and resources that will help them move toward self-sufficiency.”

(Photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM)

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