Youth Education

Youth Education

Community Health and Partnerships offers resources and programs that support health and wellness and empower our youth to become the next generation of healthcare workers in Northeast Ohio.


Education and workforce development are vital to the success of students on an individual level, while also promoting collective growth and sustainability within communities. These levers are essential for reducing barriers, combating structural racism (which has been identified as a public health concern), and addressing the worker shortages we are facing in the field of healthcare. Our programs provide a wide range of authentic learning experiences at Cleveland Clinic facilities, in schools, and through technology-mediated activities. Although the COVID-19 pandemic restricted the opportunities for on-site activities, we successfully continued to provide engaging programming through virtual experiences. Centered on real-world applications, these programs utilize organizational resources and community partnerships to support student achievement both inside and beyond the classroom, enhance students’ quality of life by providing education and awareness and establish pipelines to career opportunities for in-demand jobs within our healthcare system.

Youth Education Programs

Create awareness and pipelines to workforce development

Since 2005, Cleveland Clinic Civic Education has worked to improve health and wellness, academic achievement and career readiness for students in grades K through 12. Our current initiatives continue to support these goals and align with our mission of partnering in our communities to attain the highest levels of health, wellbeing and health equity utilizing an Anchor approach.

Caregivers engaged 3,654 students through our Youth Programs

In 2020, Cleveland Clinic Community Health and Partnerships engaged 3,654 students from 261 schools in its Youth Programs, producing measurable improvements in the areas of health literacy, academic achievement and career readiness. The reach and impact of these connected learning experiences, which our caregivers facilitated online through webinar technology during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, exemplify Cleveland Clinic’s commitment to youth education and the well-being of the communities we serve.

Worldwide Classroom banner

Worldwide Classroom®

Worldwide Classroom offers free, interactive, real-time and on-demand connected learning experiences focused on health, wellness and career-preparedness. The program offers a variety of grade-level specific offerings, including Worldwide Classroom for grades 6–12, Explorers for grades 3–5, and Health Unleashed! for grades K–2.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we conducted several additional connected learning experiences to update different student audiences with timely information about COVID-19.


Grade Level



Worldwide Classroom








Health Unleashed!




COVID-19 Safe at Home PSA




COVID-19 Update (April)




COVID-19 Update (April)




COVID-19 Update (May)








Classroom teachers who wish to participate in future Worldwide Classroom connected learning experiences can find more information at

Student Pathways

In 2020, Cleveland Clinic Community Health piloted a unique program for local high school seniors interested in healthcare careers. With a specific focus on partnering with neighboring communities and school districts surrounding Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital, the Student Pathways Program provided an initial cohort of thirteen students the opportunity to take the first step in their career — before graduation.

Each participant in the Student Pathways Program had the opportunity to meet key hospital personnel and access learnings to help prepare them for a strong future in healthcare. Virtual learning offerings included maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing school and work/life balance, career exploration and the employment application process. In addition, each student completed a virtual shadowing opportunity prior to being paired with a Cleveland Clinic caregiver who served as a mentor throughout the program.

The program offers three paths to students: direct-to-employment, certification and Associate degree. Direct-to-employment students will begin applying for jobs at Cleveland Clinic after completing the Student Pathways Program and high school graduation. Certification path students will begin applying for jobs once they have nearly completed their training program and have met any additional job requirements. Lastly, students in an associate degree role will begin applying for jobs within our organization once they near the completion of their studies.



Cleveland Clinic Community Health and Partnerships offers annual paid summer internship programs to support our chief aim of Youth Education Leading to Workforce Development. These internship programs give Northeast Ohio high school students the opportunity to learn and work alongside world-renowned caregivers at Cleveland Clinic’s main campus, regional hospitals and family health centers. Post high school and/or college graduation, participants in our programs have advanced to the world of work, higher education, and/or have been hired as caregivers in clinical and non-clinical, business-related roles at Cleveland Clinic. Several have been accepted to and have graduated from Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner College of Medicine. Many have published and presented research along with their Cleveland Clinic mentors. These programs have proven to be rewarding for students, mentors, families, schools and the organization. 2020 marked 16 years of opportunity, advancement, experience, confidence, transformation and growth through our internship programs.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to shift to a virtual platform in 2020 to remain socially connected with our students. The 2020 Virtual Summer Experience Program allowed us to continue providing relevant programming and beneficial educational opportunities to our student participants. The virtual program incorporated elements of both our Louis Stokes and Science internships, with the goal of maintaining and strengthening connections in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 Summer Intern remotely talking with caregiver

Through this redesigned virtual summer experience program, students were still able to gain exposure to healthcare fields and careers, manage learning opportunities and responsibilities, establish or continue mentoring relationships and future networking capabilities with Cleveland Clinic caregivers and find practical, real-world applications for their academic knowledge and pursuit of selected career goals. The 2020 Virtual Summer Experience Program provided students the opportunity to refine various skills, such as project management skills, academic writing and presentation skills and professional communication skills. The program also enabled students to cultivate their 21st-century skill set through virtual learning opportunities and real-world applications for their academic knowledge. These programs promote learning in health and wellness, the arts, innovation, financial literacy and more. The program remains true to its structure, which we designed to inspire students to embrace a variety of disciplines as keys to success, and to foster skills that will help them become life-long learners.

We selected students for this program from applicants who had successfully completed the 2019 Louis Stokes or Science Internship Programs. Caregivers, both clinical and non-clinical, served as mentors/co-mentors by interacting with students on virtual platforms. Mentors/co-mentors created opportunities for their students to learn by doing through guided experiences and by promoting interactive learning and teamwork, in which students were asked to practice, observe, problem solve and apply what they had learned. They also established rapport with their students, encouraged professional behavior and offered opportunities for professional growth. For example, mentors/co-mentors included participants on team assignments and tasks, and on occasion allowed students to “take the lead” during team discussions.

Despite the constraints the COVID-19 pandemic placed on program logistics, students and mentors/co-mentors discovered that virtual learning can be equally meaningful and insightful as traditional learning for facilitating mentor-student relationships and empowering students to complete successful projects. Both students and mentors/co-mentors believed the program and new virtual platform were a success, marking a new level of achievement for the internship programs.

2020 Summer Interns listening remotely

Mentors/co-mentors were very impressed by the experience and the work students completed, which was meaningful and valuable to their departments. All of the mentors/co-mentors indicated their students’ work will serve as a foundation for continuing departmental efforts. Students reported an increase in knowledge and improvement in many of their skills due to their participation in the program, and 100% of the students who started the program completed it. The average grade from the mentors/co-mentors for their students’ participation was an “A+”. A total of 26 mentors/co-mentors virtually hosted our 21 students in 19 departments at 10 Cleveland Clinic facilities.

Voices of Key Stakeholders

Voice of the Students

Students provided the following feedback on the Virtual Summer Experience Program: At first, the cancellation of the in-person program due to COVID-19 was hard to accept. However, the 2020 summer program became something that we were able to look forward to participating in. Due to COVID-19, this was a very new and different experience, yet we were still able to continue with what we started last year and gain exposure to different branches of the medical field. We thank the mentors/co-mentors for their dedication to guiding and instructing us, especially when the program required the use of a new virtual platform.

Through the workshops, we were able to learn real-life skills like establishing credit, building resumes and being able to brand ourselves. These are skills that are not often taught in schools, but they are crucial once we graduate and start to pursue post-high school education, professional education and our careers. The program taught us you don't have to be in-person to learn, work and have a valuable and fun internship. We learned being organized is critical, arranging time to fit in our mentor, co-mentor and weekly workshops. We forged deeper relationships with our mentors/co-mentors and learned how to work professionally in a virtual setting as a team and on our own. Thank you to our mentors, co-mentors, the Community Health and Partnerships Team and Cleveland Clinic. We are truly grateful!

Voice of the Mentors/Co-Mentors/Cleveland Clinic Leadership

Students came into this process with an open mind and an eagerness to learn, and were engaged throughout the program. The conversations we had were insightful and helpful, particularly during this time of a global pandemic. Students were well organized, motivated and detailed oriented with excellent follow-through. They worked well collaboratively as team members. They had strong career goals with determination to achieve. We appreciated their well-mannered and respectful behavior, and strong communication skills were evident in their final presentations.

Economic Development

Economic Development

As an academic medical institution anchored in the community, Cleveland Clinic is committed to leveraging its economic power and resources for the mutual benefit of the Institution and our surrounding communities.

Community Partnerships

Community Relations partners with key community organizations to provide a meaningful and measurable experience for our communities. Working with these partners to identify, connect and provide the resources they need to thrive builds a sense of trust and community.

Community Service Time Off (CSTO)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cleveland Clinic placed its Caregiver Community Service Time Off program (CSTO) on hold in 2020. Launched in 2019, the CSTO program gives caregivers a one-time opportunity each year to use up to four paid hours to provide service at an approved community partner organization. We provide caregivers a directory on our intranet that includes approved community partners and events in Akron, Cleveland, Dover, Florida, Las Vegas, Lorain, Medina, Toronto and Wooster.

Cleveland Clinic has a long-standing history of caring for our communities by supporting efforts to:

  • Improve personal and community health and well-being.
  • Expand educational and workforce development opportunities.
  • Invest and participate in economic development initiatives.

We continue to receive guidance from our leadership and community partners on when and how we can safely resume volunteer activities through our CSTO program.

Community Partnerships & Event Sponsorship

Cleveland Clinic’s community outreach efforts, collaborations and sponsorships have included on-the-ground programs, hands-on community service experiences, health & wellness education sessions, health screenings and navigation, and funding investments for requested programs, activities and events. While the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many events and opportunities in 2020, these alliances typically involve and support over 250 community partners, non-profits, community resource centers and other organizations where Cleveland Clinic has a presence each year.

The focus of Community Relations continues to be connecting with our communities and residents through a variety of neighborhood-based partners and social organizations, schools, houses of worship and other sites to consistently engage in discussions about local health needs and create action plans to connect individuals of all ages with the medical, social and economic resources that empower them to transform their own health and well-being, as well as that of their communities. This is standard throughout all Cleveland Clinic locations.

Essential elements for investment include providing community education for people of all ages, enhancing economic vitality and supporting workforce development. With the ongoing evolution of health care and services, the focus has been shifting from “sick” care to “health” care. As such, the health of a community is not determined solely on physical well-being, but on all the factors that go into the experience of living, working and thriving. Cleveland Clinic is committed to working with individuals and organizations that understand this reality, and we consider the ways in which requests address social and environmental determinants of health.

Greater University Circle Initiative (GUCI)

In many cities like Cleveland, anchor institutions have surpassed traditional manufacturing corporations to become their region’s leading employers. Cleveland Clinic is currently Ohio’s largest employer and recognizes the important role it plays as an anchor institution in the local economy. Through the Greater University Circle Initiative (GUCI), Cleveland Clinic works in collaboration with other local anchor institutions to create “jobs, income and ownership opportunities” for all Greater University Circle residents.

The GUCI was created in 2005 when the Cleveland Foundation convened the leaders of key anchor institutions—Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University—as well as the City of Cleveland and other partners to address the specific challenges of some of Cleveland’s most disinvested neighborhoods—Hough, Glenville, Fairfax, Central, Buckeye-Shaker, Little Italy and East Cleveland.

The leaders set four goals for the GUCI: buying local, hiring local, living local, and connecting people, neighborhoods and institutions in a vital network.

Successes since the inception of the GUCI include:

  • An evolving local procurement program to funnel purchasing power to local businesses;
  • The creation of the Evergreen Cooperatives (three employee-owned businesses that aim to create wealth in GUCI neighborhoods);
  • Workforce training programs;
  • A Greater Circle Living employer-assisted housing program;
  • A comprehensive community engagement strategy emphasizing the power of networks; and
  • Hundreds of millions of dollars in new real estate development have boosted the area’s commercial and residential base.

Local and Diverse Spending

Cleveland Clinic remains focused on supporting our local communities by sourcing products and services from diverse and local suppliers. Over the last decade, we have spent approximately $1.1 billion on products and services from certified diverse suppliers.

The COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted hospitals and healthcare systems around the country, including ours. The pandemic hit as several major strategic projects were to begin, and we suspended or deferred over 200 planned capital construction projects in 2020. As a result, we reduced our 2020 capital spend by 60% while adjusting where we focused the remaining funds. This had an impact on many of the businesses we use for goods and services, including diverse businesses. In 2020, we invested 22% of our spending with suppliers located within Cuyahoga County, 25% of which we spent with suppliers located in the City of Cleveland.

Despite the reduction in spending with diverse suppliers in 2020, we took this opportunity to refocus our efforts by creating opportunities to help these businesses grow. This included expanding our Mentor-Protégé program, creating education opportunities focused on enhancing their operational, financial, technological and human resources knowledge and skills, as well as skill growth and networking opportunities.

In 2020, Cleveland Clinic increased its focus on our communities by joining the Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN), a national collaboration of 61 leading healthcare systems who recognize that economic disparity, racial inequity and persistent poverty are not just moral problems, but issues that must be addressed as part of healthcare’s mission. Cleveland Clinic was one of 14 U.S. health systems – and the second overall – to sign HAN’s “Impact Purchasing Commitment.” This commitment, in partnership with Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth, will see our annual diverse spend double from $80 million to $160 million by 2025 as part of an overall goal of $1 billion in spending with diverse businesses. In addition to increasing our diverse spending, the five-year pledge includes:

  • Focusing our collective intelligence to rebuild a more resilient supply chain in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Addressing socio-economic and racial inequities to improve health outcomes via industry collaboration and leveraging institutional assets.
  • Creating industry change as an established network of institutions.
  • Investing in the communities we serve through local hiring, local spend and community investments.

Through our Supplier Diversity Strategy, we focus on increasing procurement spend with businesses that are at least 51% owned and operated by minorities, women, veterans, service-disabled veterans, individuals identifying as LGBTQ and/or are Historically Under-utilized Business Zone (HUBZone) certified. Elements of our strategy include:

  • identifying and sharing procurement opportunities with diverse businesses across the enterprise (including Tier II opportunities with our contracted vendors).
  • providing mentorship and learning resources to diverse suppliers to support the continued growth and development of their businesses.
  • collaborating with professional organizations and leadership at the local, state and national levels to create a network and targeted programming that supports diverse businesses.

Learn more about our diversity and inclusion initiatives

Supplier Diversity Spend

Diverse Vendor Spend

Local Procurement